People, Travel

DOE Considering Marine Tourism in Southern Islands

DOE Considering Marine Tourism in Southern IslandsDOE Considering Marine Tourism in Southern Islands

The Department of Environment plans to publish brochures introducing the ecological features of Persian Gulf islands in a bid to promote marine tourism in the southern islands.  

“Developing marine tourism in the southern regions is a priority of the DOE,” said Parvin Farshchi, marine deputy at the DOE, adding that the booklets will be prepared before the year is out in March 2017.

“The massive potential for tourism in the Persian Gulf has not been fully exploited,” she was quoted as saying by CHTN.

Farshchi’s statement is in stark contrast to the DOE’s traditional stance on tourism. Environmental officials have long been opposed to developing tourism in vulnerable areas, such as protected sites and islands.

The official added that introducing the islands’ ecological features in an easy-to-read and accessible manner will help draw tourists to the islands and encourage investors to finance tourism project there.

The Persian Gulf is home to many islands, mostly small, spread across the entire geographic area and administered by the neighboring nations including Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE plus Bahrain, the only Persian Gulf island that is a kingdom. Iran administers 32 islands in the Persian Gulf.

The largest island in the region is Qeshm, which is part of the Iranian province of Hormozgan. It is a treasure trove of natural and ecological attractions. Aside from the geopark, sun and sandy beaches, the island’s famed mangrove forests in the Hara Protected Area, which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, attracts tourists in droves.

Located 228 kilometers to the west of Qeshm is Kish Island, one of Iran’s most popular destinations that draws domestic and foreign tourists in large numbers every year. The Island’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism. However, underdeveloped and aging infrastructure has prevented the island from realizing its full potential.