Financial Tribune- All 46 hotels on Kish Island enjoyed an enviable 98% or above occupancy rate during the two-week (March 20-April 2) Norouz (Iranian New Year) holidays, the head of Kish Hoteliers Society said.
Kish is designated a free trade zone in the Persian Gulf. While considerably smaller than Qeshm, it competes with the larger island for tourists.
“The high occupancy rate motivated hotels to offer the highest quality of services and the guests were completely satisfied,” Masiollah Safa was also quoted as saying by Kish.ir.
Annual tourism to the island has been growing year-on-year and this Norouz saw an 8% increase in the number of tourists.
“Had it not been for poor weather conditions, we believe the growth would have been closer to 20%,” he said.
More than 907,000 overnight stays were recorded during the holiday period.
According to Safa, as opposed to past years, hotels on the island did not increase their prices this year and set out to enhance their services, all of which contributed to the rise in occupancy rate.
“Plans were made well in advance but this would not have been made possible without the help of Kish Free Trade Zone Organization,” he said.
Kish is a 91.5-square-kilometer resort island in the Persian Gulf, located just south of Hormozgan Province. Due to its free trade zone status, it is touted as a consumer’s paradise, with numerous malls, shopping centers, tourist attractions and resort hotels.
The island was ranked among the world’s 10 most beautiful islands by The New York Times in 2010.
Kish attracts some 1.8 million visitors per year, mostly Tehranis hoping to escape the horrendous traffic and pollution of the capital. The aim is to reach 2.6 million annual visitors by 2026.
Shopping is another big draw, as Kish was the first and most significant of seven free-trade zones set up during the 1990s to attract investment and help import consumer goods.
The free trade zone also wants to double the number of international flights by Kish Air and create a car-free “ecological paradise” on the nearby island of Hendorabi, where an airport, port and hotel have already been built.
The country’s short-term plan for Kish includes turning the island into a halal and health tourism hub in the region to rival Dubai, which is only 200 kilometers across the Persian Gulf.