TEHRAN – It seems too early to estimate the full impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Iran’s travel industry, but the head of the Iranian Catering Association said the industry has lost 53 trillion rials (about $ 1.2 billion) in the past two. months.
While the government is offering loans at 12 percent interest rates to people facing financial problems in this industry, such a rescue will not compensate for the losses. The IRNA was quoted as saying by Jamshid Hamzezadeh on Monday.
He noted that the travel industry has led to the direct employment of 240,000 people as well as the indirect employment of 550,000 people who are at risk of losing their jobs.
He also called for the tax exemption to be extended to the tourism sector, at least until the end of the current calendar year 1399, which ends on March 20, 2021.
Earlier this month, the Iranian government announced it would issue 12% interest loans to those struggling with fiscal problems. The Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Crafts has proposed a rescue package for tourism businesses.
The government has also allocated a $ 750 billion (about $ 18 billion) package to support low-income households and small and medium-sized businesses caused by the coronavirus.
However, optimistic forecasts expect Iran to achieve a tourism boom after the coronavirus is restrained, believing that the impact will be temporary and short-lived for a country that will be the third fastest-growing tourist destination in 2019.
According to the latest available data, eight million tourists visited the Islamic Republic in the first ten months of the last Iranian calendar year (beginning March 21, 2019).
ABU / MG
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