Kish Island ready to host Qatar World Cup spectators

November 22, 2021 - 17:20

TEHRAN – The Iranian island of Kish in the Persian Gulf is ready to host Qatar World Cup spectators as well as participating teams, the head of the Association of Kish Hoteliers, has announced.

The proximity of Kish to Qatar and the lower cost of staying on this island make it possible for spectators and teams to stay here during the World Cup, which will be held from November 21 to December 18, 2022, ISNA quoted Masihollah Safa as saying on Monday.

Due to the large leap taken by the Iranian national football team to participate in the World Cup, there is a need to increase the capacity of accommodation and reception services on Kish Island, the official explained.

Therefore 4,000 rooms are being prepared to accommodate Iranians and foreigners attending the World Cup, he added.

The goal is to increase accommodation capacity and standards on Kish until the World Cup to provide at least Iranian travelers with reasonable prices and a far better experience than Qatar, he noted.

It’s important to have foreign travelers and teams in Kish, but our priority is Iranian travelers, he mentioned.

Back in October, the deputy tourism minister Ali-Asghar Shalbafian announced that Iran should benefit from the 2022 World Cup as a considerable opportunity to promote its distinctive travel attractions.

“With the World Cup being held in a neighboring country, Iran can benefit from this important event, which if carefully planned, can bring significant wins for various sectors, especially the tourism industry in the country,” he noted.

The geographical position of Iran and its unique tourist attractions make it a potential destination for the World Cup spectators, the official added.

Therefore, proper policy-making and management in collaboration with the private sector can pave the way for the widespread use of this event, he noted.

Increasing the number of flights between Iran and Qatar during the event as well as showcasing and introducing distinctive tourist attractions of the country to the spectators at this event is on the agenda of the tourism ministry, he explained.

Back in September, Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Minister Ezzatollah Zarghami announced the issuance of tourist visas and the flow of foreign tourists to Iran would resume as per President Ebrahim Raisi’s order following 19 months of suspension.

However, now that the tourist visas are once again being issued to cultivate good grounds of hope for travel insiders. 

Months of steep recession has taken its toll. Many travel insiders, hoteliers, and tour operators have faced big dilemmas such as bankruptcy, unemployment, debts, and the prospects of not being competitive on the international level.

Some experts believe Iran is still somehow “unknown” for many potential travelers due to Western “media war”. Several estimates have been released so far on the extent of the tourism-related losses incurred by the pandemic. Only months into the outbreak, Zarghami’s predecessor, Ali-Asghar Mounesan, lamented that the number of foreign travelers to Iran was drastically plunged due to the pandemic.

“Tourism of the country was growing before the corona [outbreak], its revenues reached $11.7 billion in 2019, which accounted for 2.8% of GDP, nearing the average share of tourism in the world GDP, which was 3.2 percent,” Mounesan said. He added 8.7 million foreign nationals visited Iran during the [Iranian] year (1398), adding that Iran was ranked as the second fastest-growing country in tourism based on data compiled by the World Tourism Organization.

Experts expect Iran to achieve a tourism boom after coronavirus contained, believing its impact would be temporary and short-lived for a country that ranked the third fastest-growing tourism destination in 2019.

The Islamic Republic expects to reap a bonanza from its numerous tourist spots such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions, of which 26 are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, Iran aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.

A peek into Kish Island

Amongst the Persian Gulf islands, Kish is the more luxurious and developed. Except for its unique nature such as waters and shallow beaches, the tourist attractions of this charming island are due to its rich historical background as well as kind and hospitable people.

The pristine and beautiful nature, the meeting of land and sea, the clear sky, the pleasant air, and the pleasurable reverberation of the waves create such a sense of calm that one cannot even distinguish between imagination and reality.

Nowadays, about one million foreign and domestic tourists travel to the island every year and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iran as it has magnificent attractions such as Kariz Underground City, Harireh Ancient City, Marjan Beach, Bird Garden, Ocean theme park, and Grand Recreational Pier.


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