Iran’s tourism minister has said that the country’s tourism industry has suffered a major setback but it will certainly come back to normal again.

Ali-Asghar Mounesan said this referring to the Ukrainian plane crash on January 8 near Tehran killing all 176 people on board.

“These events are a major blow to tourism, but we will leave it behind by the means of new plans and we will definitely return to normal,” Mounesan said.

Mounesan added, “A lot of efforts in the arena of [travel] advertisements were made with the participation of the private sector during the current [Iranian calendar] year (started March 21, 2019). We introduced Iran to target countries, but now we are facing a situation where new procedures are needed.”

Mounesan said that inbound tours witnessed a 70 percent fall after the plane crash incident.

He said that the Iranian ministry is dwelling on new travel markets for a recovery.

International safety warnings have been issued for tourists and other travelers bound towards prime destinations in the Middle East in the wake of the assassination of the top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by U.S. forces on January 3.

The U.S. State Department and British Foreign Commonwealth Office were among the many government bodies to issue “do not travel” advisories for Iran.

Iran welcomed around 7.8 million foreign nationals last year, witnessing a 52.5 percent increase year-on-year.

The World Travel & Tourism Council said that Iraq was the main source of tourism for Iran in 2018, constituting 24% of all inbound visitors. Azerbaijan with (17%), Turkey (8%), Pakistan (4%) and Bahrain (2%) were other major sources. The remaining 46% came from the rest of the world.

Iran boasts of hundreds of historical sites like bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions, of which 22 are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, Iran aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.