Financial Tribune- In line with efforts to turn Bandar Anzali in Gilan Province into Iran’s “marine tourism hub”, recreational facilities along the port city’s coastline are being developed.
According to Hossein Cheraghi, the head of the provincial office of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization, Rasht and Bandar Anzali must take advantage of their relatively short distance from populated provinces, namely Tehran and Alborz, to attract beachgoers and tourists interested in marine tourism.
“Being one of Iran’s 10 most populated provinces, Gilan can benefit greatly from tourism as it will help create jobs and develop the local economy,” he told ISNA.
Most sea trips in the country take little time and cruise ships travel only a short distance from the shore due to lack of tourism facilities and resorts in coastal locations, particularly in the Caspian Sea.
While Gilan’s marine tourism potential has been known for years, it wasn’t until 2015 that plans were finally put in motion, thanks to the involvement of the private sector.
Gilan’s 300-kilometer coastline stretches from Chaboksar to Astara, but it’s lacking in tourism infrastructure. However, the proposed plans aim to remedy the problem by financing projects in Anzali, Chamkhaleh and Astara.
“First order of business is to build marinas in those three locations to encourage people to use boats for transportation, which will also help develop sea tourism,” Cheraghi said.
The popular province has 87 hotels, 23 hotel apartments, 47 inns, 233 roadside diners and cafes, and 53 travel agencies.
Iran’s coastal regions have the potential to attract 3 million foreign visitors a year, according to tourism and environment officials.
Despite the fact that turning coastal cities into marine tourism hubs has been a priority of past administrations, the sector is only responsible for 1% of national employment and revenue.
It was reported last year that Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization has drafted an agreement to be signed by five ministries and the heads of 12 related organizations to rally full-scale support from government officials to develop marine tourism. However, there have been no updates.