People, Travel

Aras Tourism Plans Progressing Well

Aras has made developing its tourism sector a priority.Aras has made developing its tourism sector a priority.

The establishment of six quality hotels and 23 restaurants in the last Iranian year (March 2016-17) indicates plans to turn Aras Free Trade Zone into a holiday destination are progressing well.

Mohsen Khadem Arab-Baghi, the head of Aras Free Trade Zone Organization, said the newly-built structures “were operational during the two-week Norouz (Iranian New Year) holidays (March 21-April 2), boosting the zone’s capacity to host tourists,” IRNA reported.

“There was a noticeable rise in the number of Norouz tourists this year, forcing us to issue permits to local homeowners to host tourists,” he said, without providing solid figures.

“A number of hotels are currently under construction to ease accommodation shortage and develop hoteliering and consequently tourism industry in the region.”

Iran is home to seven free trade zones, one each on Kish Island, Qeshm Island, Chabahar, Anzali, Arvand, Maku and Aras. It is likely to become a far more central and major player in the years to come, given the fact that the area has historical links with its northern neighbors.

Situated in northwest Iran in East Azarbaijan Province, Aras borders Armenia, Azerbaijan and the semi-autonomous Nakhchivan region, which belongs to Azerbaijan. The city has become the main gateway to mainland Iran from the northern CIS states.

The Commonwealth of Independent States is an alliance of former Soviet republics set up after the breakup of USSR.

Since March 2015, when Aras joined the World Free Zones Federation, more than two dozen groups of investors from across the world visited the free zone and launched tourism and industrial projects.


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