People, Travel

Marine Tourism: Priority of the Year

Marine Tourism: Priority of the YearMarine Tourism: Priority of the Year

Development of marine tourism is the top priority of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization in the new Iranian year that started on March 21, the head of the organization said.

Speaking to the top brass of some of Iran's free trade zone organizations in Tehran, Zahra Ahmadipour added that marine tourism "has a God-given and hidden potential that must be used effectively", IRNA reported.

"Not looking into this enormous natural capacity is our greatest weakness. Comprehensive plans must be drawn up as soon as possible," she said.

Ahmadipour said marine tourism is not exclusive to provinces with access to the sea, noting that regions—such as Khuzestan—which have rivers wide enough for sailing must also devise plans. Organizations and ministries can take the initial step in promoting marine travel by organizing tours for their staff.

"Proper promotion can guarantee the sector's development," she said.

Officials claim Iran’s coastal regions have the potential to attract 3 million foreign visitors a year. Development of marine tourism can help the country meet its ambitious target of attracting 20 million annual tourists by 2025.

Over 70% of tourism development plans in the sixth five-year development plan (2017-22) are related to marine tourism.

Despite the fact that turning coastal cities into marine tourism hubs has ostensibly been a government priority, the sector is only responsible for 1% of national employment and production.

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