By: Atefah Alizadah
KABUL: Following coronavirus outbreak and lockdown of big cities in the world including Afghanistan, the tourism industry has faced with stagnation.
Although the losses level of the stagnation are not clear, losing millions in Afghani has been expected. For example, Herat with its historic and religious locations as well as fantastic touristic sites has no tourists at all on these days.
Provincial directorate of information and culture of Herat says even a single tourist has not been registered since March due to the coronavirus outbreak in the province, while last year 12,000 foreign and domestic tourists visited various touristic sites of Herat.
“Due to coronavirus outbreak in the province, we’ve lost 100 percent incomes we received from tourism industry in the past when we had 2 million AFG each month and more than 2,000 – 2500 tourists visiting various historic and religious sites of the province, but unfortunately we’ve had no foreign and domestic tourists for the past two months,” said Waheed Ahmad Sultani, provincial director of information and culture for Herat.
He added that the tourism industry had been in the rise during the past five years, but coronavirus outbreak in the country has stopped everything including tourism in the province.
Once Herat’s historic Qala-e-Iktiaruddin, historic minarets of the province and other historic sites had thousands of tourists each year, causing economic development of the province and the country.
Based on statistics, nearly 40 hotels which had been constructed to welcome foreign and domestic guests and tourists have been in the loss during the past three months due to coronavirus outbreak in the country.
“All hotels, restaurants, tradition clothes markets and centers that have invested millions in AFG in the province have received nothing in the past three months and now faced with economic problems,” Sultani said, but hoping that a range of problems will be launched to attract foreign tourists to compensate the losses after ending the coronavirus crisis in Afghanistan.
Besides that domestic tourists had visited historic and religious sites of Herat, a large number of tourists from the US, Australia, Italy, France, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Iran had come and visited historic sites of the province in the past.
According to general director of Herat’s Qala-e-Ikhtiaruddin, only last year, more than 28,000 tourists visited this Qala as they received nearly 1.1 million AFG.
“Following coronavirus outbreak and lockdown of Herat city, the door of Qala-e-Ikhtiaruddin was closed to both foreign and domestic tourists and visitors; therefore, the tourism industry has faced with stagnation as nobody comes and visits Herat’s historic sites,” general director of Qala-e-Iktiaruddin said.
It is not only Herat, other provinces as Bamyan, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Kunar, Nooristan and Mazar-e-Sharif have also faced with similar experiences.
Afghanistan ministry for information and culture says last year nearly 7,000 foreign tourists and nearly 1.2 million domestic tourists visited historic and touristic sites of Afghanistan, but this year the industry was hit by coronavirus as the industry has faced with unprecedented experiences of stagnation of the tourism history.