Iran’s Bushehr seeks to draw World Cup spectators

April 15, 2022 - 18:35

TEHRAN - Iran’s Bushehr province, which neighbors Qatar, seeks to draw football fans who would be arriving in the emirate to watch World Cup games in November and December.

“Having follow-up sessions with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts regarding [the needed] infrastructure for the presence of tourists, this province announces its readiness to play host to football fans during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” IRNA quoted the provincial tourism chief as saying on Friday.

Bushehr province is the shortest distance from Qatar [in comparison to other Iranian provinces], … and we are planning to operate passenger ferries from Bushehr to Qatar and vice versa, Esmaeil Sajjadimanesh added.

With over 6,000 years of history and significant monuments from the Elamite, Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sassanid eras, Bushehr is one of the most important historical centers of the country.

Moreover, negotiations have also been held with two airlines to transfer passengers from Bushehr to Qatar and vice versa, and those services will become operational before the start of the World Cup, Sajjadimanesh stated.

The historical and architectural monuments of Bushehr include Islamic buildings like mosques and praying centers, mansions, old towers, castles, as well as gardens. Moreover, its stunning beaches and lush palm groves make it an attractive destination for world travelers.

Last week, the head of the Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) said that Iran considers operating passenger ferries to and from Qatar during the World Cup competitions. “Iran has considerable capacities to support and facilitate maritime traffic for [football] fans who are willing to travel between the country and Qatar during the World Cup,” Ali-Akbar Safaei stated.

“For the safe transportation of tourists and fans of World Cup teams, the services will be offered by standard and advanced vessels, which are currently operating in the passenger ports of Bushehr, Khuzestan, and Hormozgan province,” Safaei explained.

Furthermore, the Iranian government, at the suggestion of its Foreign Ministry, considers offering free visas to draw spectators from neighboring Qatar during the major competition.

Tourism minister Ezzatollah Zarghami believes that Iran must take an immense opportunity to be provided by the upcoming Qatar World Cup to properly introduce the county to the international spectators of the major event. “A significant number of travelers, mostly young people, would arrive in Qatar to attend the World Cup… It provides an exceptional opportunity for us to properly introduce tourist attractions of the country,” the minister said.

Iran, No. 21 in the current FIFA world rankings, will kick off the World Cup campaign in Qatar against fifth-ranked England on November 21 before facing Wales/Scotland/Ukraine on November 25. The Iranians will close out Group B play on November 30 versus the U.S. (No. 15 in FIFA ranking).

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.

AFM

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