Foreign visits to East Azarbaijan at record high

July 4, 2022 - 20:15

TEHRAN – Over 30,000 foreign travelers visited East Azarbaijan province during the first three months of the current Iranian calendar year, which according to the provincial tourism directorate makes a record high since 2017.

“The five-year record of foreign tourists entering East Azarbaijan province is broken,” the deputy provincial tourism chief Alireza Bairamzadeh said on Monday.

“Over 30,000 foreign travelers visited the province during the first three months of the year,” the official said.

“This statistic is related to tourists from all over the world who have stayed in East Azerbaijan hotels and accommodation centers officially for a few days.”

This number of foreign tourists shows a growth of about 300% compared to the two-year restriction period caused by the coronavirus pandemic, he said.  

“It shows more than 100% growth compared to the period before the spread of the coronavirus, which is a very high and significant progress.”

Citizens from Turkey, Iraq, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, China, Germany, Sweden, France, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain were among people who traveled to the province during the three months, the official explained.

Last November, Iran resumed the issuance of tourist visas and the flow of foreign tourists from land and air borders following 19 months of suspension. However, months of the steep recession took its toll on their incomes; many travel insiders, hoteliers, and tour operators faced big dilemmas such as bankruptcy, unemployment, debts, and the prospects of not being competitive on the international level.

Furthermore, the pandemic has taken a huge toll on the civil aviation sector. For instance, airlines reportedly lost hundreds of millions of dollars because of flight cancellations during the high seasons. Tourism authorities say Iran has the potential to experience a tourism boom after coronavirus is contained, believing its impact would be temporary and short-lived for a country that ranked the third fastest-growing tourism destination in 2019.

Iran is potentially a booming destination for travelers seeking cultural attractions, breathtaking sceneries, and numerous UNESCO-registered sites. Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, Iran aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.

Soaked in history and culture for millennia, Tabriz, the capital of East Azarbaijan, embraces several historical and religious sites, including the Jameh Mosque of Tabriz and Arg of Tabriz, and UNESCO-registered Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex to name a few. The city became the capital of the Mongol Il-Khan Mahmud Gazan (1295–1304) and his successor. Timur (Tamerlane), a Turkic conqueror, took it in 1392. Some decades later the Kara Koyunlu Turkmen made it their capital, it was when the famous Blue Mosque was built in Tabriz.

The city retained its administrative status under the Safavid dynasty until 1548 when Shah Tahmasp I relocated his capital westward to Qazvin. During the next two centuries, Tabriz changed hands several times between Persia and Ottoman Empire. During World War I, the city was temporarily occupied by Turkish and then Soviet troops.


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