EghtesadOnline: More than 14,000 Iranians visited Armenia from June 22 to July 16, Rouhollah Latifi, the spokesperson of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration said on Saturday.
Almost all those traveling want to get vaccinated against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Latifi said “10,093 travelled to the neighboring country via the Nurduz Border Crossing in Jolfa County, East Azarbaijan. In addition, 35 flights operated from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport during the period, carrying 3,911 passengers.”
Noting that land transport via Nurduz border crossing had been on the rise since the beginning of the current year (March 21) to July 9, the official said, “The number of people traveling to Armenia increased from 100 on June 22 to 300 on July 5, to 455 on July 6, 813 on July 7, to a record high of 2,219 on July 8 and decreased slightly to 2,212 on July 9. Since July 10, the number of outbound passengers dropped significantly, reaching 170 on July 16.
“Larger numbers of Iranians are returning to the country from Armenia since July 13. Nordus terminal registered the return of 981 Iranians on July 13 and 2,100 on July 14. A total of 547 and 515 Iranians came back on July 15 and July 16, respectively,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.
The government of Armenia is providing foreigners with Covid-19 vaccines in a bid to revive its tourism. With the increasing number of Iranian vaccination arrivals, Yerevan tightened the rules on July 15 imposing the 10-day minimal stay requirement for those wanting to get the jab.
Armenia plans to increase its flights to Iran from the present niine to 11 as of next week, according to the spokesman of the Islamic Republic of Iran Civil Aviation Organization.
“Currently, Aircompany Armenia has two weekly Yerevan-Tehran flights and Armenia Airways has five Yerevan-Tehran and two Yerevan-Tabriz flights a week,” Mohammad Hassan Zibakhsh was quoted by ILNA as saying.
The official added that Armenia Airlines plans to add two more flights per week after which the number of weekly flights between the two neighbors will increase to 11.
“All the flights are operated by Armenian airlines and fleet.”
In related news, acting Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said last week that foreigners, including residents, have accounted for up to half of about 110,000 people who were vaccinated in the country.
In Iran, the urgency of getting vaccinated against Covid-19 is growing by the day. A crush of new cases fuelled by the fast-spreading delta variant has threatened to overwhelm Iranian hospitals with breathless patients too numerous to handle.
But as deaths mount, and the sense swells that protection for most citizens remains far-off, thousands of desperate Iranians are taking matters into their own hands: They’re flocking to neighboring Armenia.
In the ex-Soviet Caucasus nation, where vaccine uptake has remained sluggish amid widespread vaccine hesitancy, authorities have been doling out free doses to foreign visitors – a boon for Iranians afraid for their lives and sick of waiting.