People, Travel

Qeshm to Open 12 Beach Resorts

Qeshm to Open 12 Beach ResortsQeshm to Open 12 Beach Resorts

A total of 12 beach resorts will open on Iran’s Qeshm Island in the Persian Gulf by the end of the year (March 19), according to Masoud Karbaschi, the cultural, social and tourism deputy at Qeshm Free Zone Organization.

Qeshm Island attracts a large number of visitors in fall and winter each year, particularly over weekends.

“We predict a surge in tourist numbers during the Norouz holidays (March 20 – April 1) compared to the same period last year,” IRIB News Agency quoted Karbaschi as saying.

The opening of the beach resorts will help the island meet its tourism potential, which will boost Iran’s chances of turning the nascent industry into a major source of revenue.

Karbaschi said the resorts are being opened one by one, and by the yearend all 12 will be ready to host Norouz travelers.

The resorts will also help gather tourists who would normally set up tents across the island in one spot. Campers will be able to set up tents along the coast, Karbaschi added.

Qeshm’s ecological and tourism value is not lost on anyone, but years of mismanagement and negligence has cost the picturesque island its rightful place as a top vacation spot, not to mention global fame.

The island boasts the Middle East’s first UNESCO-listed geopark, or at least it did, until the geopark was dropped from the Global Geoparks Network in 2013 due to problems that have remained unresolved for too long, such as underdeveloped infrastructure and unenforced environmental regulations.

Since then, the QFZO has been trying to lift the southern island up to international standards and has received five billion rials ($150,000) to develop infrastructure.

Aside from the sandy beaches, the island’s famed mangrove forests in the Hara Protected Area draw large numbers of domestic and foreign tourists.

In December, as part of the plan to reintroduce the geopark on the GGN and help revive indigenous tradition and culture, the first tourist wooden boat was put out to sea in the mangrove forest.

Hara Protected Area is one of five forests in Hormozgan Province and arguably the most important feature of Qeshm Geopark. With an area of 85,686 hectares, Hara is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.