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Iranian tourism drops to 'near-zero levels' due to coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic is choking Iran’s tourism industry as the number of foreign tourists drops to an all-time low, prompting record layoffs and reducing income to near-zero levels.
Tourists visit The National Museum of Iran in Tehran on October 09, 2018. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)

As the Middle East’s worst-hit coronavirus victim, Iran has lost over 21,000 of its citizens since the pandemic began to ravage the country in late February. But the immense health crisis aside, the economic cost has proven devastating for the cash-strapped government. And among the sectors almost brought to its knees is tourism.

Priding itself on the glorious ancient Persian civilization, Iran is home to 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which have survived foreign invasions and natural disasters over centuries and continue to maintain their appeal to visitors.

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