People, Travel

Kish-Chabahar Cruise Scrapped

Kish-Chabahar Cruise ScrappedKish-Chabahar Cruise Scrapped

A plan to launch a cruise route between the Persian Gulf island of Kish and the port city of Chabahar has been scrapped because "it is not profitable".

Tourism officials had announced in May that Sunny, a cruise liner owned by Kish Free Zone Organization, will serve four more destinations besides Qeshm, namely Chabahar (in Sistan-Baluchestan Province), Deylam (Bushehr), Shahid Bahonar (Hormozgan) and Imam Khomeini (Khuzestan). However, Chabahar is not being considered anymore.

Kambiz Moshtaq Gohari, director of Sistan-Baluchestan Province's office of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, told Marine News Agency that the scheme has been thoroughly reviewed and deemed economically unjustifiable.

"There's very little return on investment, so we've shelved the scheme," he said.

The official said the route would be unlikely to attract tourists due to the distance between Kish and Chabahar, which is roughly 489 nautical miles or 905 kilometers. The average cruise ship travels at a speed of around 20 knots (37 kph), which means travelers would spend two days at sea for a return trip. Sunny, the first-ever cruise ship to dock at Kish Island in nearly 40 years, made its maiden voyage on April 12 by transporting 400 passengers and crew members to Qeshm Island.

The Sweden-made cruise ship arrived at Kish in late March, making it the first Iran-owned ocean liner to touch the waters of Persian Gulf since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Officials claim Iran’s coastal regions have the potential of attracting 3 million foreign visitors a year. 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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