People, Environment

Hendurabi Tourism Plan Resumes

DOE says it’s open to developing tourism facilities in marine regions.DOE says it’s open to developing tourism facilities in marine regions.

The implementation of a plan to turn Hendurabi Island in the Persian Gulf into a tourist resort–or the “Island of Peace” as the advocates of the scheme call it–has resumed a year after it was put on hold due to a myriad of unresolved environmental problems.

“All the issues have been addressed and there are no environmental issues preventing the progress of the project,” Parvin Farshchi, deputy for marine environments at the Department of Environment, told IRNA.

Hendurabi is located 28 kilometers northwest of Kish Island and is part of Kish Free Zone.

Reports from DOE inspectors had shown a number of shortcomings in the plan with regard to its environmental impacts, which were communicated to project managers.

The proposed site for the project included the large masses of coral on the island’s shore, which would have been seriously threatened if the plan had continued.

To allow the project to continue without harming the vulnerable corals, around 60,000 corals along Hendurabi’s coasts were relocated to a 3,000-hectare coral farm under a project funded by the Kish Free Zone Organization and supervised by DOE.

“The corals will be constantly monitored for five years,” Farshchi said.

The relocation was done on a 12-billion-rial ($320,000) budget.

The island had the potential to become a petrochemical hub, a fishing center or a tourism destination. Feasibility studies, however, convinced officials that developing tourism would be the most eco-friendly thing to do.

The official said DOE will continue overseeing the development of the island’s travel industry to ensure minimal damage is caused to the environment.

Farschi noted that DOE is open to developing tourism facilities in the country’s marine regions and supports private investors as long as their plans conform to environmental rules.

“Developing tourism on the islands of Lavan, Hengam and Abu Musa has been prioritized. However, schemes have been put on the back burner due to the lack of funding,” she said, hoping that more support will be given to projects in the current Iranian year (started March 21).

Iran has unique opportunities in marine tourism development. Private investors’ interest and the government’s attention have enhanced the prospects of the industry to reach the ultimate tourism goal of attracting 20 million foreign tourists annually by 2025.


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