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Private Sector Invest $7.3 Billion In Tourism Projects In Iranian Eastern Province

By Orkhan Jalilov September 1, 2020

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Mashhad is the second-most populous city in Iran and the capital of Razavi Khorasan Province in the northeast of the country, close to the borders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. The city is most famous and revered for housing the tomb of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam. / AzerNews

Over 240 tourism-related projects worth about $7.3 billion are currently being carried out by private investors in Iran’s Khorasan Razavi Province, neighboring with Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.

“For the time being, 243 projects in tourism [and hospitality] arena worth 310,000 billion rials [around $7.3 billion at the official rate of 42,000 rials] are being developed across the province…. And their total values are added up to 600,000 billion rials [about $14 billion] if the worth of land properties are included,” deputy chief of the tourism department of Khorasan Razavi Ahmad Dinari said on August 31.

The province has also attracted 82 million dollars of foreign investment since 2013 in the tourism sphere, he added.

Mashhad, the capital of Khorasan Razavi province, is Iran’s second-largest city, and the main sight is the massive shrine complex of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam. There are a lot of water parks, five-star hotels, hostels, a variety of cultural and historical sites. Tourists can also buy top handwoven rugs and carpets. 

Mashhad hosted thousands of travelers and pilgrims who come from various Iranian cities, neighboring countries, and even across the globe to visit the holy shrine, before lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Over 37 million Iranian pilgrims and tourists visited Mashhad between March 2019 and January 2020, and 8 million of them came by road, 6 million by rail, 3.8 million by air, and 18 million by private cars.

Iran's Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on August 31 that 109 more Iranians have died from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) over the past 24 hours bringing the total deaths to 21,571. Some 1,642 new cases of infection with the COVID-19 were found over the past 24 hours, some 573 of whom have been hospitalized, she added.

The handicraft industry and related businesses across the country have suffered a loss of $452 million since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Iran’s deputy tourism minister Pouya Mahmoudian. 

“Due to the lack of inbound passengers during this time, unfortunately, the amount of suitcase trade (allowed for customs-free and tax-free transfer) diverged to almost zero,” the official said.

The number of foreign travelers to Iran has drastically decreased due to the global coronavirus pandemic as the Islamic Republic registered only 74 visits during the spring season.