Lack of accommodation has been touted as the main factor hampering the tourism industry, but it would be naïve to ignore the role of transportation in tourism development.
Holiday resorts and tourist sites, which are easily accessible, receive more visitors. Therefore, an extensive transportation network is vital for a thriving tourism industry.
Upon hearing “transport” in the context of tourism, air travel springs to mind. However, in recent times, other modes of transport like railroads have gained popularity, mainly because they are more affordable and allow travelers to enjoy scenic routes.
Factors Affecting Choice
When choosing a mode of transport, factors such as time, distance, safety, convenience and price influence travelers’ choice. Thus, authorities looking to expand Iran’s transportation network must consider all these factors.
Providing travelers with more transportation options to reach their destinations is imperative to a prospering tourism industry. Different tourists prefer different modes of transport: Some prefer to fly to a destination, while others may opt for sea travel to the same location, if the option is available.
For some, time is of the essence; for others, the journey is more important than the destination.
According to experts, Iran’s transportation infrastructure is underdeveloped.
Aging aircrafts, limited number of domestic flights flying out of Tehran (a majority heading for Kish and Mashhad) and—barring a few—poorly equipped airports have long plagued Iran’s aviation industry.
Travel by land also poses a number of challenges. Apart from the need to develop the road network, the existing roads are substandard and make driving cumbersome and uncomfortable. Furthermore, the noticeable lack of tourist buses must also be addressed.
Iran’s railroad network is also due for an overhaul. With the exception of Tehran-Mashhad route, travelers interested in traveling by train do not have many options.
Sea travel in Iran has still a long way to go.
Lack of cruise ships and investment in the sector has all but stopped Iran’s maritime tourism from realizing its true potential. Sandwiched between the Caspian Sea in the north and the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman in the south, Iran’s lack of marine infrastructure has hampered tourism development.
In addition to addressing the accommodation problem, tourism and transportation officials must join forces to develop Iran’s travel infrastructure.
Even if Iran manages to meet its ambitious tourism goal, which is to attract 20 million tourists a year by 2025, underdeveloped infrastructure will make it difficult to sustain a steady stream of incoming tourists for long.