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At the beginning of 2020 tourism industry has been heavy hit by Coronavirus lockdowns. COVID-19 has impacted travel and tourism like no other event before in history. All airlines have cancelled flights and countries have closed borders and hundreds, maybe even thousands, of tourists are stranded overseas.
Iran as a top choice of many foreign tourists and those who willing to experience something new and different, was ranked the third fastest-growing tourism destination in the globe in 2019(UNWTO). But like other countries struggling to cope with Covid-19 Surg and have some tourists who stranded in here by cancelled flights and shut borders.
Some tourists spent more than 100 days staying in Iran due to coronavirus travel restrictions. An interesting story of the tourist who stuck in Iran, Let’s make an interview one of him. After more than two years of nonstop travel around the world, his journey was halted and he has stuck in Iran for more than four months.
Ilario Lavarra, planned to travel around the world on a very old Vespa but borders closed. This Italian traveller arrived in Iran, after a visit to the UAE. He was supposed to go to Pakistan after Iran but plans changed because both countries closed their own borders.
Ilario Lavarra will tell us his point of view about travelling and living in Iran during the pandemic.
HELLO! My name is Ilario, I am from Milan, Italy, and 38-year-old. I graduated in finance and I have 2 big passions: Vespa and travelling. So, what I love in my life is put together these two passions. I travelled more than 100 countries with my Vespas right now. At the moment I am stuck in Iran, Isfahan, for me one of the best cities in the world
Three years ago, I started my long journey, called Grand Tour. I crossed Europe, entire Africa (almost 40 countries in Africa), then turkey, Central Asia, Arab countries and nowhere in Iran.
To finance this travelled I worked in my guest house, I saved money for this Grand Tour. But to be honest, I think business is in my blood, so wherever I see the way to start a business, I try. Usually, I buy stuff in countries and I export them to Italy.
Good question. I am a very curious guy. I like to discover everything. So, for me travelling is just a tool to discover more. And I am that kind of guy that does what he wants. No fears, no society restrictions, nothing. So, when I was younger and I was studying, I travelled around Europe for a few weeks a year. After I decided to travel around the world, to discover how it’s beautiful, how it’s different from what the media tell us. People are nice everywhere. In every country. It’s in the human being to be positive somehow.
My idea of Iran was nice even before to visit it. Every tourist that was here, told me how its people are amazing and friendly. So now, after several months I am here, I can only confirm this. In Iran people is extremely friendly and nice.
This is the point. I’m not afraid of nothing in my life. So, I am free. I am free to see the world with my eyes and not through media tell me.
To be honest, In Europe media, are not against Iran. Iran is for Europe one of the interesting countries for tourism.
I spent my quarantine in Zahedan. It was fine, I think like a quarantine in another part of the world: just stuck in a hostel. I worked in my merchandising (another way I try to get money for my travel), I had a lot of time to make new graphics for my T-shirts.
I don’t know. At the moment in Iran, I have only good memories and experiences. As most of the other countries to be honest (I’m a positive person).
Maybe the biggest problem is Corona Virus, but it was the same everywhere else. And I feel so lucky to be stuck here in Iran than other countries! Because I love Iran, I love people of Iran and I love Isfahan, so for me, it’s good to stay here.
As Italian, for me, the day must begin with an ESPRESSO, better with a croissant. So, after my breakfast in a coffee, I start my “routine”, going visit some local artists (I love Isfahan art), talking with them and walking a bit around the central square. Often spending time with my Iranian friends. I even tried to learn to paint ostrich eggs with a local artist. Maybe in another life, I will be a better artist, not during this life for sure
I love it. It’s famous all around the world, and in Iran is even better obviously. I love for example all the different kind of salads you use to eat with the main dishes. Very tasty. My favourite is Tahchin. And you know, I am travelling around the world so sometimes I have stomachache because hygienic conditions are not good. But never in Iran. It means the hygienic conditions are good, and for a tourist IS quite important.
BUT I really don’t like Kalleh Pacheh!
Perfect. I am coming from Central Asia, where the roads are very bad. In Iran they are perfect, so I enjoy a lot with my Vespa and its sensitive small wheels. About transportation, I used twice the bus, and it’s cheap and good.
The rest of the world. At the moment with my Vespa, I travelled more than 100 countries. Now I want to reach Australia and after America. I try to visit all the world, inshallah.
Good question. My first opinion is human beings have a short memory, everywhere, so in a few years will be the same as before. But for sure during the next month’s everything will be more difficult, not only crossing the borders but even the relations with people. For example, in the know that in India, one of my next destinations, people believe corona comes with tourists, so they are not very friendly with them.
But it’s ok, it’s part of the game, part of my travel, and Corona will make it very special, something I will tell one day to my nephews.