Iran opens borders to foreign tourists

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TEHERAN – The Islamic Republic of Iran reopened its borders to foreign tourists on October 23, the deputy tourism minister said.

As of yesterday evening, the National Headquarters for Coronavirus Control has agreed to reopen the country’s borders to foreign tourists, based on the new conditions in the country after crossing the fifth wave of the pandemic, increased vaccinations and at the request of the Ministry of Tourism rule, said Ali-Asghar Shalbafian on Sunday.

As a condition of entry into the country, headquarters have instructed all tourists and host communities to follow all health protocols, the official added.

As the post-coronavirus era began, extensive measures were in place to revitalize the tourism industry, the official added.

He also expressed the hope that issuing tourist visas would lead to a boost in tourism.

Tourist visas

As early as September, the Minister for Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts, Ezzatollah Zarghami, announced that by order of President Ebrahim Raisi, the issuing of tourist visas and the influx of foreign tourists from land and air borders would resume from the month of Aban (23 October) – November 21) after 19 months of suspension.

The steep months of recession has taken its toll. Many travel insiders, hoteliers and tour operators face major dilemmas such as bankruptcy, unemployment, debt and the prospect of not being competitive on an international level.

You now have good reason to hope when Zarghami announced on September 19 that the country would lift visa restrictions to help the hard-hit tourism industry.

Meanwhile, the number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in the Islamic Republic has continued to decline, which has contained a persistent fifth wave of the pandemic that has seen up to 700 deaths daily in the past few weeks. On September 22nd, the number fell below 300 as the government went to great lengths to vaccinate citizens against the nasty virus.

Some experts believe that because of the Western “media war”, Iran is still somehow “unknown” to many potential travelers. To date, several estimates of the extent of tourism-related losses from the pandemic have been published. Just months after the outbreak, Zarghami’s predecessor Ali-Asghar Mounesan complained that the number of foreign travelers to Iran had dropped dramatically due to the pandemic.

“Tourism in the country grew before the Corona [outbreak], revenues reached $ 11.7 billion in 2019, representing 2.8% of GDP, which approached the average tourism share of global GDP of 3.2%, “Mounesan said. He added that 8.7 million foreign nationals entered Iran during the [Iranian] Year (1398), adding that Iran was ranked the second fastest growing country in tourism based on data from the World Tourism Organization.

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

ABU / MG


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