Published on : Thursday, April 30, 2020
Iran is experiencing a huge loss in travel and tourism industry. The coronavirus outbreak has inflicted 53 trillion rials ($330 million) in losses on Iranian tourism industry, during the two months to April 19. Jamshid Hamzezadeh, the president of Iranian Hoteliers Association added that there are 240,000 people are directly and 550,000 indirectly employed in the travel and tourism industry.
The president of Iranian Hoteliers Association called on the government of Iran to exempt the tourism industry from paying taxes, as hotels, travel agencies and accommodation centers have lost revenues due to total shutdown amid the coronavirus spreading.
The coronavirus disease, COVID-19, has inflicted 30 trillion rials ($187 million) in losses on hotels alone, the Iranian Hoteliers Association’s estimates suggest.
The government of Iran has announced a annual bailout for coronavirus-hit businesses, including loans with a 12% interest rate and the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Ministry has also put forward a rescue package for tourism businesses, which has yet to be finalized. The economic operators, however, believe that although these bailouts are positive measures, they can’t resolve the industry’s problems.
Amir-Pouya Rafiei-Shad, the head of Tehran Province’s Tour and Travel Agencies Association said that the bailout does not offer much of a cure, given the fact that the pandemic has brought tourism to a standstill for two months now.
Last year was a bumpy ride for tourism industry: spring flooding events, November protests and the Ukraine International Airlines plane crash. The outbreak of the coronavirus infection may be the last straw for the industry not only in Iran but in the whole world.
Noting that the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Ministry has proposed a value added tax delay to support the industry, he said no transaction has been conducted over the past couple of months because all travel agencies were closed.
He said that the government needs to offer tax exemption to tourism industry for fiscals 2019-20 and 2020-21, and lend support by providing social welfare to employees of this sector. Reducing the unemployment rate has been the promise made by all governments; the financial support could help save jobs and prevent the bankruptcy of travel agencies.
Rafiei-Shad put the number of travel agencies in Tehran at 20,000 and said that considering that each of them have 10 people on their payrolls and each employer is the head of a four-member household on average, they provide the livelihood of 80,000 people only in the capital city.