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Coronavirus Pandemic Costs Iran's Tourism And Airline Industries $400 Million

The ancient imperial city of Persepolis, the capital of Persia's Archaemenid dynasty, near the historic town if Shiraz. FILE PHOTO

A senior official of Iran’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage has said that the cotronavirus epidemic will cost $200 million to the country’s tourism industry in three months.

Mr. Vali Taymuri, the ministry’s deputy in charge of tourism, told the official IRNA news website on March 28 the government has tried to help hotels by cancelling their insurance and utility bills, but it cannot prevent layoffs.

He did not say how many workers have lost their jobs in the tourism sector.

Although tourism from Western countries was limited before the epidemic, many people and especially pilgrims from neighboring countries visited Iran in recent years.

Iran had 7.8 million tourists from March 21, 2018 to March 20, 2019 with 93 percent from regional countries, the majority coming from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the secretary of the airlines association told ILNA the coronavirus crisis will cost $200 million in damages to Iran’s airline industry until early April.

He said domestic flights have been reduced by 90 percent and three airlines have completely stopped flying. He added that he has no information about layoffs, but if the current situation lingers on “airlines will be forced to reduce their workforce”.

Iran has been hit hard by the epidemic, with tens of thousands infected and more than 3,000 dead.