Private Firms Join Kish Tourism Projects

Private Firms Join Kish Tourism Projects Private Firms Join Kish Tourism Projects

Private firms have signed a deal with the Kish Free Zone Organization to invest 60 trillion rials ($1.7 billion) in the island’s tourism projects, a senior official at the organization told the press last week.

The island’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism. It is one Iran’s most popular destinations that draws domestic and foreign tourists in large numbers every year, but its underdeveloped infrastructure has prevented the island from realizing its full tourism potential.

KFZO chief executive Ali Asghar Mounesan said a large part of the private funding will be directed toward hotel construction, ISNA reported. The names of the companies and/or individuals were not provided.

There are 40 lodging facilities (hotels and guesthouses) on the Persian Gulf island, while another 38 are under construction. Three hotels were inaugurated in the past two weeks, the most important of which is Toranj, Iran’s first-ever marine hotel with 100 suites. Two more hotels will open by mid-March and before the annual Iranian New Year holiday season.

Mounesan said the investment will help Kish Air, an airline headquartered on the island which is partially owned by the KFZO, bolster its aging fleet with ten airplanes in the next fiscal year (starts March 20).

He said the airline has signed a contract with French plane maker Airbus to buy two A321 passenger jets that will be delivered by May.

“We will be able expand our routes and offer more flights,” with the new aircraft, the official said.

The funds will also be used to help expand the island’s marina and international airport, making it the second largest in Iran after Imam Khomeini International Airport in south Tehran.

Mounesan said foreign companies are eager to invest in the island’s development projects.

Last week the local media quoted Mohsen Jalalpour, head of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines, as saying that an Italian company has agreed to finance tourism projects on Kish Island. The projects include construction of an aquarium with the capacity to hold 1.5 million liters of water, making it the largest of its kind in the Mideast, a three-kilometer cable car and a standard ice hockey rink. The projects will be completed within two years.

KFZO officials have said they expect to lure six million foreign tourists to the picturesque island a year by 2025, slightly more than a quarter of the country’s goal of 20 million visitors per annum.