About $ 2 million donated to support tourism businesses in South Khorasan
Tehran – The Iranian government has disbursed some 85 billion rials (over $ 2 million at the official exchange rate of 42,000 rials per dollar) in loans to tourism businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic in the eastern province of South Khorasan.
The loans have gone to travel agencies, resorts and tour operators as well as craft units across the province, the provincial tourism chief said.
The credits should guarantee 256 job opportunities, Hassan Ramezani said on Friday.
Located in eastern Iran, South Khorasan Province is home to many historical and natural attractions such as Birjand Castle, Dragon Cave, Forg Citadel, and Polond Desert.
It is an explorer’s delight – there is a lot to discover but hardly another visitor to find, even in the most important sites. The region crosses arid mountains and semi-deserts and is famous for saffron and barberries. But there are also a multitude of old mud villages that seem to have been left almost complete as if to tempt archaeologists (Old Esfandiar and Old Deyhuk relatively accessible are among our favorites).
Castle enthusiasts will swoon over the fortress of Birjand – which could be slightly over-restored but makes it an ideal site for a traditional restaurant – and the fortifications atop the Qa’en mountains, particularly magical at sunset; Forg is one of the finest castle citadels in Iran. Boshrooyeh’s Qaleh Dokhtar is smaller and more ruinous, but clings dramatically to a peak of the lonely desert rock, with unique and still-functional traditional paddlewheels nearby.
Government care and support packages
In October 2020, Deputy Director of Tourism Vali Teymouri announced that a new support program had been approved to pay loans to businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Depending on the type and activity of the business, they could benefit from at least 160 million rials ($ 3,800 at the official rate of 42,000 rials) to nine billion rials ($ 214,000) in bank loans with an interest rate of 12%, he said.
The loans would be allocated to tourist guides, travel agencies, tourist transport companies, tourist educational establishments, eco-lodges and traditional accommodation, hotels, apart-hotels, motels and guest houses. , as well as traditional accommodation centers, tourist complexes and recreation centers, the official explained.
Teymouri in September 2020 highlighted the 1.3 million tourism workers in the country, who are facing several problems due to the coronavirus crisis and said: “This number, in addition to their households, includes a significant population. who earns a living from tourism, which are to be taken into account in the decisions of the ministry.
Last August, Teymouri announced that the Tourism Ministry had approved a total budget of 4.920 billion rials (over $ 117 million) to support crown-affected tourism businesses, covering up to 36,000 people working in the tourism sector.
The tourism industry in critical situation
Tourism Minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan warned in October 2020 that Iran’s cultural heritage and tourism would be in dire straits if the crises caused by the coronavirus outbreak continued.
Last August, the tourism minister said the tourism sector in the Islamic Republic had suffered a loss of 12 trillion rials (some $ 2.85 billion) since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
He also noted that the coronavirus pandemic is not expected to cause travel to stop altogether. “Corona is a fact, but can the virus stop tourism? Certainly not. For us, the coronavirus is a new experience in crisis management that teaches tourism experts around the world how to deal with such a disaster, and luckily, governments are making an opportunity for better planning.
Optimistic forecasts predict, however, that Iran will hit a tourism boom after the coronavirus is under control, believing its impact to be temporary and short-lived for a country that ranked third fastest growing tourist destination in 2019.
The latest available data shows that eight million tourists visited the Islamic Republic in the first ten months of the Iranian calendar year 1398 (started March 21, 2019).
ABU / AFM