Iranian travel insiders and Pakistani fellows discuss ways to expand religious tourism


TEHRAN — On Sunday, Pakistan’s Karachi hosted a business-to-business (B2B) meeting between Iranian travel insiders and Pakistani counterparts to boost and promote religious tourism.

Tourism between the two countries was discussed during the meeting, along with removing barriers and identifying problems, CHTN reported Monday.

Other issues were also discussed during this meeting, including providing the necessary infrastructure in the transport sector, expanding insurance coverage, barriers to visa issuance and accepting the PCR test for travelers, the report added.

As a result of the meeting, Iran’s private tourism sector expressed its strengths and capabilities in various fields, and the Pakistani side addressed its challenges and obstacles.

Due to Pakistan’s role in tourism development as one of Iran’s five destination countries, solving the challenges between the two countries is of great importance.

Iran is home to hundreds of shrines, imamzadehs, mausoleums, churches and even fire temples among other religious destinations dedicated to different faiths. Top international tourist destinations in Iran include the religious cities of Mashhad, Qom, Shiraz and the capital Tehran. These cities each house the holy shrines of Imam Reza, the eighth Imam of Shia Muslims; his sister Hazrat Masumeh (SA); his brothers Ahmad and Mohammad; and the late founder of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Rouhollah Khomeini.

A unique time to visit Iran for religious tourists is the first ten days of the lunar month of Muharram, when Iranians, who are mostly Shia Muslims, hold special ceremonies to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS), the Prophet’s grandson, deter Muhammad (PBUH) and his 72 faithful companions.

Based on the available data, before the outbreak of the coronavirus, about 700,000 Pakistani pilgrims traveled to Mashhad annually to visit the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS). Mashhad is the main destination for Pakistani travelers making pilgrimage to the shrine of the eighth Shia Imam.

According to official figures, the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS) hosts an average of 500,000 pilgrims every day.



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