TEHRAN – It seems to be too early to estimate the full impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Iran’s travel industry, however, the head of the Association of Iranian Hoteliers says the industry has lost 53 trillion rials (about $1.2 billion) just over the past two months.
Although the government has offered loans with a 12-percent interest rate for people who are facing financial problems in this industry, such amount of bailouts will not compensate for much of the losses, IRNA quoted Jamshid Hamzezadeh as saying on Monday.
He noted that the travel industry has led to direct employment of 240,000 people as well as indirect employment of 550,000 people, whom are at risk of losing their jobs.
He also called for tax exemption to be extended to the tourism industry, at least by the end of the current Iranian calendar year 1399, which ends on March 20, 2021.
Earlier this month, the Iranian government announced it will bail out those which are grappling with fiscal problems by offering loans with a 12-percent interest rate. The Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts also suggested a rescue package for tourism businesses.
The government has also allocated a 750-trillion-rial (about $18 billion) package to help low-income households and small- and medium-sized enterprises suffered by the coronavirus concerns.
Optimistic forecasts, however, expect Iran to achieve a tourism boom after coronavirus contained, believing its impact would be temporary and short-lived for a country that ranked the third fastest-growing tourism destination in 2019.
Latest available data show eight million tourists visited the Islamic Republic during the first ten months of the past Iranian calendar year (started March 21, 2019).
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