When the pandemic finished what will happen for the tourism of Iran.
At the end of 2019, on the eve of the beginning of a new and challenging decade, the whole world faced its biggest challenge after the world wars. China says a new virus from the corona virus family has been identified and is advancing rapidly. China quarantined Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province. At the time, other countries were only covering the news of the disease, according to Chinese sources. Prominent politicians from different countries tried to reassure the people to prevent the disease from entering the country. At first, it seemed that this time will be like other new diseases of recent decades and the situation in China would soon return to normal. But the situation was different.
In a short time, new cases were identified in Asia, Europe and Americas. The people and the capitalist system ruled the world were surprised. The lack of adequate resources for the medical and public health sector in recent years and the attempt to normalize the situation led to the largest epidemic in the last hundred years. For the first time, the world turned its eyes to laboratories and scientists in anticipation of a solution.
COVID-19 could have helped humans to be fully united, closer together, and bring complete peace to the world, but that did not happen.
At the same time, however, politicians, clerics, and capitalists adopted other methods, including denial, projection, and disregard. The interesting issue was how to cover the false and selfish information of these groups, which of course can be justified by the power and dominance of these groups over the media and information centers. But the more interesting thing was the reaction of the people and sometimes the acceptance of these behaviors. The simplistic answer could be that each of us has within ourselves an unworthy politician, a fanatical cleric, and a selfish capitalist.
In different countries and cities, social people belonged to Homo sapiens have to forcibly or voluntarily stay at home and restrict their communication ways to social media. By this, an industry was damaged hardest and most before. Tourism was completely shut down and that was the beginning of the story. The tourism industry all over the world faced its biggest challenge. Some 320 million people in the tourism industry saw themselves at risk of losing their jobs. Ten months after the start of the epidemic, there is still a significant involvement with the disease. Now let’s get to Iran.
In recent years, and especially after the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), Iran has been increasing its tourism industry every day. A lot of capital was flowing into this fledgling industry. The attitude of foreign tourists towards Iran was changing. The Iranians were ready to show a different image of Iran to the media. But since mid-2019, with tensions escalating between Iran and the United States and creating a sense of war between the two countries, there has been a brief halt in this progress. After a few months, the situation was stabilizing. In November 2019, the government of Iran suddenly increased the price of petrol in the country, and this was the beginning of the domino effect of the fall of tourism. Protests began in various cities and many tours were canceled.
On the third day of the new decade (3rd January), the United States assassinated one of Iran’s most important foreign military forces on the outskirts of Baghdad International Airport. Iran was outraged by US behavior, and belligerent bragging between the two countries intensified. In response, Iran bombed a US military base in Iraq with prior announcement. But on the morning of January 8, Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by two missiles around Shahriar. 176 persons were killed and the Iranian government claimed responsibility three days later, stating that human error had caused the incident. More than 80% of the reserved tours for the Iranian spring high-season were canceled. The biggest blow was dealt to Iran’s tourism economy. However, the presence of domestic tourists during the Iranian New Year holidays could still be promising. With the onset of the epidemic and the reporting of the first cases of the disease in Iran as well as its rapid spread, this hope was also dashed. Tourism centers, resorts and other related centers were closed for three months. With the improvement of conditions and the opening of some centers, efforts were made to reorganize the tourist centers, but despite the presence of the disease, the situation did not go well.
According to some government officials, for example, 30 percent of the accommodation centers were completely closed and the remaining 70 percent were occupied with a capacity of less than 20 percent. However, sooner or later the disease will pass and the condition will return to normal. But with the changes that the world has seen during this period, what will be the tourism conditions?
According to experts, in developed countries and countries that have withstood the pandemic well, such as New Zealand, Germany and Greece, the situation will naturally return to normal more quickly. However, in countries affected by the disease, especially less developed countries, which did not have the necessary infrastructure and resources to deal with the disease and the prevalence of the disease was higher, the conditions for recovery will be much slower. In the case of Iran, it can also be classified in the second group. In these cases, the prevailing political conditions in the region and international relations affecting recovery process can also be considered.
Booming domestic tourists
At present with the current situation in Iran, we should expect a strong start of domestic tourists in different regions after the end of the epidemic. After several months of staying home, people will start traveling to change their mood after the restrictions and the fear of the disease are lifted. Of course, this will not have much effect for some groups who continued their recreational trips regardless of the current special circumstances. But the Iranian tourism community can hope to make up for some of the losses with the help of passionate domestic tourists. However, environmental issues and the saturation of tourism capacity must also be considered.
Change in business lifestyle
Some of the trips have already been monopolized by business goals. The obvious impact of the epidemic during this period can be seen in the volume of use of social networks for meetings, business meetings, correspondence and contracts. Going back to the past will also take some time, but some business owners have found that some works can be done remotely and with less cost and time.
Confirmation of changes and trying to preserve the environment VS new strategies to return to the past
In some countries, even after the end of the epidemic, some laws related to this period will remain. Adherence to health protocols, efforts to protect the environment, etc. But in the case of Iran, it can be concluded that due to the huge losses that the tourism sector has suffered during this period and before, it will offer strategies to encourage domestic and foreign tourists such as high discounts, accommodation and tourism packages and so on. These strategies and, of course, the influx of domestic tourism will saturate the capacity of various places and destroy natural and environmental resources.
Before Iran officially and globally became a popular destination for a wide variety of tourists, it was the brave, adventurous, and often young backpackers who mostly started the next trips with a low cost. Under these circumstances, one can expect the first passengers, after the end of the epidemic in Iran (and many other places), will be the same enthusiastic young passengers. This group will gradually transfer their experiences to other groups, and if the conditions are favorable, the next groups and major tourists will start their travels. So perhaps it can be predicted that even with the end of the pandemic, probably in the next few months, it will still take some time for Iranians to see their foreign tourist friends again. But after the initial phase, which will probably last two high-seasons (one year), the old days will return.
Of course, all this can happen if the political activities of governments and groups as well as internal conditions of the country do not affect this process. However, unless something special happens and politicians and rulers leave people a little more comfortable, it can be hoped that in the not too long after the end of the pandemic, domestic and foreign tourists will become a normal part of daily life around the world. However, this has been a very good time to change and refine strategies, methods and managements, if properly thought out and implemented.
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