Iran’s deputy tourism minister has warned that advertising about destinations or scheduling tours are prohibited in the country due to the coronavirus outbreak. “Advertising and launching travel tours, in a situation that coronavirus is spreading, is an evident infringement of the law” Vali Teymouri as saying on Saturday.
The warning comes after a number of travel agencies had scheduled domestic tours to Mashhad and some other cities mainly via air or rail routes.
“In some cases, because some travel agencies are unable to refund, they would make pledges to lunch air or rail tours. But the point is how they could launch such tours till destinations are refuse to accept travelers over the coronavirus,” Teymouri explained.
Early in March, Teymouri announced that more than 700 billion rials (over $16 million) have so far been paid back to people who have cancelled their tour or hotel reservations over the coronavirus fears.
The official also thanked “dear compatriots” and tourists for their cooperation with the “family of the tourism industry” in the country, who are considering the special economic conditions of the tourism activists at this time and attempt to postpone their travels to a more convenient time, if possible. Last month, tourism minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan asked people to postpone or reschedule tours so as to help the tourism industry deal with the virus outbreak.
“My suggestion to my dear people is that they do not cancel their hotel reservations and domestic tours as far as possible in order to help the tourism industry and prevent it from bankruptcy by making their reservations in time after virus is controlled,” Mounesan said.
In Mid-March, Iran started an intercity travel ban after officials have complained that many Iranians ignored appeals to stay at home and cancel travel plans for the Persian New Year (Noruz) holidays that began on March 20.
The ban asserted that those who have traveled for the Iranian New Year holidays should immediately return to their cities without making any stops in other cities on their way back home.Domestic travel in Iran reaches its climax from mid-March to early April, a time corresponding to Noruz holidays.
Iranians made 74 million overnight stays in their domestic trips during the Noruz holidays last year, which showed a 20 percent increase year on year.