Travel & Tourism

Iran to resume issuing tourist visas

Men walk next to closed shops of Tehran Bazaar following the tightening of restrictions to curb the surge of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, in Tehran, Iran August 16, 2021. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

TEHRAN: Iran will resume issuing visas to foreign tourists from next month, officials said, after suspending services for 19 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The issuance of tourist visas from land and air borders will resume" from October 23, Tourism Minister Ezzatollah Zarghami said, quoted Tuesday by the government-run Iran newspaper.

Except for medical and business reasons, Iran banned the entry of foreign nationals in March last year, a few weeks after the Islamic republic detected its first cases of Covid-19 infection.

The decision to restart visa services was taken on Saturday at a meeting of Iran's anti-coronavirus taskforce that was attended by President Ebrahim Raisi, local media reported.

"This regulation will not include direct and indirect travel from or to high-risk countries declared by the World Health Organization," the committee was quoted as saying.

Iran is battling the Middle East's deadliest outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has recorded nearly 120,000 deaths from more than 5.5 million cases of infection, according to the latest official figures, which the authorities admit are largely underestimated.

In recent weeks the country's caseload has begun to decline, after peaking in August during what officials have called a "fifth wave" driven by the Delta variant.

The tourism ministry said in February that more than 8.8 million tourists visited Iran in the year before the outbreak of the coronavirus, saying travel was down 94 percent.

 

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