Rail Network Lacking

Rail Network LackingRail Network Lacking

Compared to the countries of the first world, even to the developing ones, Iran has a very limited railway network.  The Fifth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2011-2016) has placed special emphasis on expansion of the rail network.

The shortcoming of the railway network has become more visible with the growth in tourism over the last few years. According to statistics provided by advocates of the tourism industry, “Iran has a long way to go to reach the ideal conditions required to support the targeted growth in the tourists visiting the country,” said the managing director of Marco Polo Tourism holding company Dr Hassan Taqizade, Donya-Eqtesed reported.

The tourism sector is impacted by transport links by sea, land and air.  Land travel especially by train has captured the headlines due to the recent series of train tours coming to Iran.  Many tourist organizations have chosen rail travel as a preferred method due to its convenience and safety. In some countries, private railway networks, equipped with distinct facilities and stylized coaches, have succeeded to attract more travelers.

In Iran, as some published figures have shows, less than 15% of railway journeys are for touristic purposes; that is, most rail travels are just for getting from A to B with little regard for attractions along the way. “This indicates a lack of adequate co-operation between rail transport officials and tour-operators,” Taqizade said.

In the recent years however, a few promising measures have been taken with regards to rail transport links, which has the potential to boost the tourism industry. A network has been established between Tehran, Isfahan, and Shiraz, providing a fantastic transport option for those travelling along the most well trodden tourist route.

Due to the low cost, convenience, and safety of train travel for visiting the historical and cultural attractions, more travel tours are expected to be organized on the iron lines, if of course the price of the tickets stay reasonable as they are now.

Rail travel is one of the most economic ways for tourists to get around. Russia for instance, has capitalized on this mode of travel to expand its tourism market, having established rail-links in many of its regions, specifically in around Siberia and other northerly quarters. As a result it has gained revenues through tourism even though it does not have anywhere near Iran’s diversity in terms of climate and terrain and nowhere near to Iran’s warmth. Nevertheless, each year, over tens of thousands of foreign tourists board the trains to visit the wildlife and frozen landscapes of the region.

Though in the early stages Iran too is showing promising signs with regards to developing its train tourism. The five-star tourist train that brought foreign tourists from Hungary is proof of this claim. With many luxurious facilities and services, it provided a memorable trip for its passengers.