People, Travel

Khuzestan to Host Bird-Watching Tours

Khuzestan to Host Bird-Watching ToursKhuzestan to Host Bird-Watching Tours

The tourism authority in Khuzestan Province will organize bird-watching tours around wetlands as well as Khor-e Musa (Persian for Musa Bay) and the banks of Arvandroud river to promote eco and marine tourism.

According to environment experts, Khuzestan is one of the best locations in Iran for conducting bird-watching tours. The large number of migratory birds that arrive in the southwestern province in the second half of the year and settle down near wetlands and the banks of Arvandroud creates a magnificent view.

Shadegan, Hoor-al-Azim and Bam-Dej wetlands see the greatest number of these birds, which can be of great appeal for tourists, Mana news agency reported.

Nevertheless, the potential has not been fully exploited yet and the existing tours have been very few and far between.

To develop the sector, the provincial office of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization is currently studying the feasibility of ecotours with a focus on bird-watching, according to the organization's top official.

"Preliminary studies have also been carried out to publish a reference book displaying the birds of the province," Khosro Neshan, the head of Khuzestan's ICHHTO, added.

"The development of tourism in Khuzestan's wetlands has been a priority of ICHHTO and bird-watching tours can help meet the goal."

With multiple water reserves, Khuzestan is among the best spots in the country for the development of marine tourism. Shadegan Wetland has become a popular destination by attracting both domestic and foreign tourists, while Hoor al-Azim, which was on the brink of desiccation until last year, is on the path of recovery.

Neshan said cities such as Bandar Hendijan, Imam Khomeini, Abadan and Khorramshahr that are located along the Persian Gulf's shoreline boast the best potentials for this type of tourism.

"The provincial ICHHTO office has made comprehensive plans to promote tourism facilities in the cities," he said.

"Surveys have been conducted and the final plan has been submitted to the central office of ICHHTO to obtain the final approval and the required funds for launching the projects."

The key province is known for its large oil and gas reserves, which have again attracted the interest of major players in the global energy industry, thanks to the nuclear agreement signed in July 2015. Local tour guides say the hype over Khuzestan’s battle with dust storms and its value as a refining center seems to have completely overshadowed the tourism potential of a province that houses three world heritage sites:  Chogha Zanbil (inscribed in 1979), Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System (2009) and Susa (2015).


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