Majority of Noruz travelers opt to holiday in tents, not hotels, expert says 

April 11, 2022 - 20:13

TEHRAN – The majority of Noruz vacationers chose to pitch their tents instead of overnight accommodation in hotels or guesthouses during their two-week new year holidays, the head of the Iranian Travel Agencies Association has said. 

It has been reported that Iranians made over 50 million overnight stays during the holidays, but the question is how many were tourists and generated revenue for the destination, ISNA quoted Hormatollah Rafiei as saying on Sunday.

Rather than staying in authorized accommodations, most of these tourists set up their tents, traveled in private cars, and damaged public property, the official lamented. 

Those who proclaim that travel in this Noruz shows a magnificent growth over previous years should remember that travel over the past two years has been mostly banned due to the coronavirus outbreak, he added.  

Earlier last week, the tourism ministry announced that based on data obtained from all provinces, a total of 50,663,296 overnight stays were recorded across the country during Noruz. 

The majority of the overnight stays were recorded in authorized accommodation centers, hotels, and guest houses in the provinces of Mazandaran, Khorasan Razavi, Gilan, Hormozgan, Fars, Isfahan, Bushehr, Yazd, Khuzestan, and Tehran, the report added. 

On March 12, President Ebrahim Raisi said Iranians who have received the second dose of COVID vaccine were allowed to travel across the country during the new year holidays.

Noruz journeys as well as (public) gatherings and celebrations will be allowed if coronavirus protocols declared by National Headquarters for Coronavirus Control are observed by people, Raisi said.

“Noruz ceremonies and trips, if practiced under health protocols, could be beneficial for the revival of the tourism industry and handicrafts, which have been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic in many provinces,” he explained.

Last year, in the face of intensive coronavirus restrictions, the number of domestic travels fell by 96 percent during the Noruz holidays compared to two years earlier, the tourism ministry announced. Iranians made some 2.5 million overnight stays across the country during the Noruz holidays, while the number added up to over 74 million in the same period in 1398 (March 21-April 2, 2019), which shows a drastic fall.

Available data suggest the country’s tourism industry has suffered $233m losses due to COVID restrictions over the past two years. “Iranian tourism facilities have incurred a loss of 69 trillion rials ($233 million) due to the outbreak of the coronavirus over the past two years,” an official with the tourism ministry said early in January.

Iranians traditionally make hundreds of thousands of domestic trips during the New Year holidays, when most businesses and workplaces are closed, as are schools.