Iran is going to celebrate the new year, Norowz, in nearly 20 days. Naturally, several people had booked domestic or international trips for the two weeks of holiday, starting on 20. March. However, Coronavirus seems to have damaged many of these plans as well as Iran’s tourism industry.
Government is strongly discouraging people to travel to domestic destinations, to control the spread of the virus. Currently traveling abroad is also difficult, if not impossible, for Iranians. Turkey, one of the major foreign destinations for Iranian travelers have banned its flights to and from Iran and does barely permits Iranians, even residents, to enter this country.
Other neighboring countries do not seem to welcome Iranian passengers warmly either. As the threat of the virus is spreading, more countries are joining the barred destinations for Iranian holiday makers. Airlines such as Emirates and Qatari have suspended their flights to Iran for the moment or have restricted them to few urgent ones.
This situation cripples Iran’s tourism industry, which was one of the prosperous industries in Iran.
More losses for Iran’s tourism industry
In this regard, the Ministry of Tourism has issued a Mandate to travel agencies to cancel booked flights, trains and hotels or even tours, free of charge. This must be extended even to trips until a week after Norows holiday, i.e. nearly mid of April.
Despite this, several travel agencies refuse to cancel the trips or say that until the situation is not completely clear, they cannot refund the passengers. They complain that the mandate is not forcing them, and it is not clear how they can compensate their loss.