Tehran, Yerevan ink MOU to expand tourism

February 1, 2022 - 18:32

TEHRAN – Iran and Armenia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Monday to expand cooperation in the tourism sector, IRNA reported. 

The MOU was signed by Iran’s deputy tourism minister Ali-Asghar Shalbafian and Armenia’s deputy economy minister Narek Teryan on the sidelines of the 15th Tehran International Tourism Exhibition.

Moreover, several Armenian tourism and economic officials, as well as private investors, vitiated Iranian fellows at the four-day exhibit discussing ways to enhance reciprocal bonds. 

Earlier this week, Iranian tourism minister Ezzatollah Zarghami announced that Iran is a fairly safe and beautiful destination for international travelers.

“Foreign tourists should be aware that Iran has the beautiful and safest places for tourism, but negative propaganda by Western media has tainted their minds, whereas those who come here change their view,” he said.

Last week, the deputy tourism minister Ali Darabi announced that the Iranian government should get fully prepared for a surge and potential tsunami of tourism when COVID-restrictions are over.

Travel and tourism will increase as vaccination becomes a priority around the world and lifestyles align, the official added.

As a result of this outbreak, tourism and the economy of the world took a huge hit, with millions dying and many losing loved ones, he explained.

But it has also taught people that they have to adapt, change quickly, analyze and react to a rapidly changing world, he mentioned.

Last month, an official with the tourism ministry announced that the Iranian tourism industry has suffered $233m losses due to COVID restrictions over the past two years.

“Travel is not believed to be the cause of the outbreak, rather it is a lack of adherence to health protocols that have caused the outbreak, but people canceled their trips anyway, causing major damage to the tourist facilities across the country,” he explained.

With only two months until the upcoming new Iranian year holidays, the tourism ministry is preparing safe and smart travel packages for Iranian holidaymakers and travelers, he noted.

Nearly 70 percent of the population has been vaccinated, so these trips may be able to partially compensate for the damage done to tourism facilities over the past two years, he mentioned.

Last year the tourism ministry announced that the tourism of the country was growing before the corona outbreak, its revenues reached $11.7 billion in 2019, which accounted for 2.8% of GDP, nearing the average share of tourism in the world GDP, which was 3.2 percent.

The Islamic Republic expects to reap a bonanza from its numerous tourist spots such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions, of which 26 are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. 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.