Many attractions await visitors in Iran, such as the ancient remains of Persepolis, Qeshm, Mount Damavand, ruins of the Tape Sialk, as well as the Laton waterfall. Contrary to popular belief, Western countries have shied away from Iran after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 due to its scenic beauty and abundance of historical relics and religious sites.

Prior to recent events, the government of significantly invested in hundreds of tourism-related projects, which saw an annual growth of 28 percent in Iran. As a result, Iran has become one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. It became a lifeline for Iran’s economy when the United States withdrew from JCPOA unilaterally in May 2018 and slapped sanctions on Tehran’s oil industry and automobile production.

Because of this, the coronavirus outbreak, which has ravaged the tourism and hospitality industries throughout the world, has struck at an especially bad moment for Iran. Already in early 2020, increasing hostilities between Washington and Tehran—which peaked with the US killing of Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani—had deterred many tourists from visiting Iran. 

The fall of Iran’s currency, on the other hand, rendered international travel prohibitively expensive, therefore domestic tourism thrived. Aside from COVID-19, which has affected Iran more than any other country in the Middle East, Iranians were forced to stay at home for Nowruz, which is Iranian New Year celebrations. The pandemic is also preventing Shia Muslims from neighbouring nations like Afghanistan, Bahrain and Iraq from travelling to holy Iranian towns or seeking medical treatment in Iran.

An unidentified Iranian insider with extensive knowledge of Iran’s tourist business claimed that “COVID-19 placed the final nail in the coffin” of the industry.

Iran’s officials restricted historical sites including Kashan’s historic Tape Sialk site to better combat the coronavirTravel cancellations over Iran’s  Nowruz holiday, a time of family reunions, tourism, and rituals, left Iran’s hotels desolate in March.

Iranian hotels and travel companies are in danger of going bankrupt if they don’t get help from the government following the coronavirus epidemic. That’s according to Shiraz’s Association of Hotel Owners’ head. Iranian hotels were established decades earlier are now deserted for the first time .

It is crucial to highlight that the Iranian government was sluggish to implement restrictions on internal travel in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic in Iran. Iranian leaders were concerned about the economic repercussions of US-imposed sanctions as the country’s economy became increasingly dependent on domestic enterprise. Iranian officials hold most of the blame for the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the country’s regions because of their efforts to keep the local tourist industry afloat yet after Iranian medical specialists raised the alarm.

There are questions regarding when and if Iran’s domestic tourist industry can rebound now that the government has taken steps to temporarily restrict it. There. The theory is that a government bailout may salvage the business, but the government appears to have no plans to do so since they lack the financial resources to do so. As a result, even if they don’t go bankrupt, many businesses will be losing money.

After a certain amount of security and stability is achieved, a country’s tourist industry may thrive both domestically as well as internationally. Iran is unable to do this at this time. Until a vaccine to counter the coronavirus is produced, it is unclear how fast Iran’s tourist sector can recover.

Iran’s natural beauty, various archaeological sites, rich culture based in classical antiquity, and the Iranian people’s image as welcoming hosts make the crisis in the country’s tourist sector short-lived, according to the most positive evaluation of the current situation. ISIS terrorist attacks and a failed July 15, 2016, coup attempt in Turkey might have a similar effect on Iran’s tourist sector, much as they did for Turkey’s tourism business. Though this epidemic has devastated global tourism, Iranians who depend on travel will continue to be impacted for the coming years.

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