Tourism life in the central district of Mashhad, during the third peak of COVID-19 pandemic

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Human Geography, University of Tehran, Alborz Campus, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Human Geography, Faculty of Geography, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Since the beginning of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected urban life in all areas. Tourism, which is one of the elements of achieving sustainable development goals in the growth of cities, also faced problems. From the socio-cultural aspect, the central district of Mashhad is the birth certificate of Mashhad. Pilgrimage attractions are the main point of presence of Mashhad residents and tourists in the core of Mashhad. Besides pilgrimage, the presence of tangible and intangible cultural and heritage attractions can be a good opportunity for tourism development, business creation, job creation and the growth of the city's economy. The spread of Corona left an irreparable impact on the dynamic urban life in the central area. In this direction, in a descriptive-analytical way and in a library way, the indicators of tourism urban life were collected in six dimensions using a questionnaire, then with the help of spss software and by the univariate chi-square test and the univariate Wilcoxon test, the effect of Corona on the minimal prosperity And the presence of people in the central fabric of Mashhad was analyzed. The results show that there is a significant relationship between the observance of health protocols by tourists and residents in the central area of Mashhad, inflation and people's lack of financial ability, changing business hours during the day and night, and banning night traffic with the life of urban tourism during the third peak of the Corona epidemic in There is 2019. The support of urban tourism life in the central area of Mashhad is the way of tourists' presence in the order of environmental - health, economic and social aspects.
Extended Abstract
The religious pilgrimage site in the main core of Mashhad, which is well-considered as the main social and tourist gathering stocks with tangible and intangible heritage attractions, provides reasonable tourism, business, and economic development opportunities. With the outbreak of COVID-19, it left irreparable effects on the dynamic and 24-hour urban life of the central area, and the balance between the capabilities of the environment and the community was disturbed by the number of tourism activities.
According to the practical purposes and based on the nature of this research, the descriptive-analytical method has been used. The main approach is analyzing quantitative and qualitative data based on using the univariate Chi-square and Wilcoxon tests. In this regard, the statistical population included domestic tourists – including the 384 residents of Mashhad. They are randomly selected using the Cochran formula in the third peak of the COVID-19 pandemic (winter 2021). In order to achieve our research goals, one main questionnaire was planned in six social, cultural, economic, environmental and health, physical, and transportation dimensions to evaluate and re-evaluate the research. This specific questionnaire includes descriptive questions, multiple-choice and short answers, and our research data were collected through systematic random sampling. Then, the relationships between descriptive statistical data such as tables, graphs, etc., and the univariate Chi-square and Wilcoxon tests were analyzed by SPSS statistical software.
 Results and discussion
In order to analyze the change, the tourism industry in the central district of Mashhad and the presence of people before and after the COVID-19 pandemic

After this outbreak;

The rate of outdoor activities such as walking have been studied with the support of the univariate Chi-square test.

The quantitative rate of the presence of people is decreased after the outbreak of COVID-19;
Social security has declined due to the forced shutdown and change in business hours, which means that the outbreak of Coronavirus has some effects on social security;
The number of visits to commercial centers, shopping malls, and holy shrines dropped, window shopping, etc., are decreased dramatically;
Using public transportation has been reduced after the COVID-19 pandemic;
The rate of visiting the parks, monuments, historical and religious sites are decreased significantly;
The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemics are inevitable in the economy, jobs and businesses;
The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are remarkable on the daily and nightlife of the central district of Mashhad;
The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are notable for the less participation of individuals in rituals and religious festivals in the central district of Mashhad. Based on a questionnaire, people do not prefer participating in these or even observing the health protocols.

The cultural structure of communities and the historical contexts of a city are two valuable sources of its heritage that have suitable capacities to use and boost its cultural tourism. In this term, this development gives residents a new prosperous life and creates a new social and economic atmosphere for tourists.  But unfortunately, some factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the third peak, failure to comply with the health protocols, economic sanctions, and the directorial decisions have damaged the urban tourism life. The findings show that the health policy observing health protocols while creating specific opportunities in the city in terms of the development of rituals and traditional festivals increases the rate of people’s participation and presence (residents and tourists) in the central district of Mashhad. But, incomplete infrastructure and insufficient view of urban management are barriers to activating and growing these capacities. 
The impact of vital factors on the threat to urban tourism life which contribute to decreasing the level of prosperity of the central district of Mashhad and changing the trend of urban tourism in the third peak. Mentioned by people are:
1- The COVID-19 pandemic, failure to follow health protocols such as not wearing a mask, crowd and congestion, and lack of social distancing in religious and commercial spaces in the central district of Mashhad (environmental and health dimension) with the quantitative rate of 39.15 %;
2-  Inflation, financial difficulties (economic dimension) with the quantitative rate of 38.95 %;
3-  The change of business hours, the nightly traffic restriction (social dimension).
 Overall, urban management with reasonable and appropriate planning for any mentioned cases is able to redesign and revitalize the condition of the central district of Mashhad. Some of these suggestions are:

Implement some policies to further comply and follow health protocols by local and tradespeople in this specific area;
Appropriate management in ritual and religious ceremonies without any contact between individuals and the environment;
Financial support from the government;
Creating urban, social, and welfare services for security reasons;
Retrospect the program of the public transportation network and control the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is no funding support.
Authors Contribution
All of the authors approved thecontent of the manuscript and agreed on all aspects of the work.
Conflict of Interest
Authors declared no conflict of interest.
We are grateful to all the scientific consultants of this paper.


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