People, Travel

Call for Curbing Hotel Constructions in Mashhad

Call for Curbing Hotel Constructions in Mashhad Call for Curbing Hotel Constructions in Mashhad

With the number of inbound tourists declining in Mashhad, building more hotels makes little sense, the head of Khorasan Razavi Hotels Association said.

Mohammad Qanei added that hotel occupancy rates in Mashhad have declined to 20% and lodging centers have to offer discounts of up to 70% to keep their business running "in spite of their quality services".

Nevertheless, 200 hotel projects have obtained licenses and are currently under construction, which is not economically justifiable, the Persian travel news website Donyaye Safar reported.

"Once these hotels come into operation, the hotel industry in Mashhad will enter a serious recession and business owners will face numerous financial problems," he said.

The holy city of Mashhad is home to the mausoleum of Imam Reza (PBUH). Nearly half of Iran’s annual five million inbound tourists visit Mashhad, most of whom are religious tourists and pilgrims.

Based on the target outlined in the country's 25-year Vision Plan, the metropolis is expected to host 40 million pilgrims and tourists from across the world every year by 2025. At present, around 25 million pilgrims from Iran and abroad visit the city every year.

The expansion of Mashhad's hotel capacity is among measures aimed at meeting the above target.

Qanei said contrary to plans, Mashhad is experiencing a decline in the number of pilgrims for the second year in a row.

"The decline is attributed to Iran's row with Saudi Arabia, which reportedly blocked half of its inbound tourists from the Middle East," Morteza Rahmani Movahed, tourism deputy at Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, said.

The January 2016 attacks on the Saudi Embassy and Consulate in Tehran and Mashhad by protesters infuriated by Riyadh's execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr without due process led to the complete severance of diplomatic ties between the two countries. "We lost 700,000 Shia pilgrims from the region," he said last month, referring to those who travel to Mashhad to visit the shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH). Prior to the attacks, Iran received an average of 1.5 million tourists and pilgrims every year from the Persian Gulf littoral countries.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints