People, Travel

Tourists Avoid Hengam Island during Peak Season

Dolphins, which used to swim just off Hengam's shores, have abandoned the island.Dolphins, which used to swim just off Hengam's shores, have abandoned the island.

Hot summer days and dolphins abandoning the coast have negatively affected the number of tourists visiting Hengam Island in the Persian Gulf, while the island's pristine natural landscapes and aquatic species remain the main attractions for travelers.

The bottlenose dolphins of Hengam Island that used to race alongside tourist boats, creating one of the most enjoyable and popular attractions of the island, have disappeared due to a depletion of food resources and getting caught in fishermen's nets.

Hengam Island is spread over 33.6 square kilometers and looks like an incomplete cone facing the southern coasts of Qeshm Island, another popular destination in the region. However, the island is experiencing a "low season" in what is normally its peak travel season.

Players in the region's tourism sector believe taking measures to promote the island and expanding Hengam's travel services could boost local tourism.

Speaking to Mana, Afshin Abbasnejad, a travel agent and investor, in Hengam, still expects more visitors to visit Qeshm Summer Festival that ends on Sept. 21.

"To provide better services to tourists, steps will be taken to expand our facilities, such as establishing more lodges," he said.

Some 38 local families on Hengam and Qeshm islands have received permits to accommodate travelers.

"It is exciting and important for visitors experiencing the local life for a couple of days by staying with the locals themselves," Abbasnejad said.

"Training sessions are being organized to help the locals gain English language, communications and hosting skills to provide acceptable services to visitors."

The travel hoped the measures will add to the island's attraction and visitors would have a memorable time at a low price.

The primary economic activity on Hengam Island is fishing, as well as some tourism and sightseeing. Its main attractions include the harbor buildings, coal warehouse, the Portuguese shipwrecks, corals and aquatic animals such as turtles, dolphins and sharks.