03 Oct 2013 15:00
Kish Island, Iran
Kish is a 91.5 square kilometer island in Iran. Since it has a free trade zone status, it is touted as a consumer's paradise: with numerous malls, shopping centers, tourist attractions, and resort hotels. It has an estimated population of 20,000 residents and about 1 million people visit the island annually. Kish Island was ranked among the world’s 10 most beautiful islands by The New York Times in 2010, and is the fourth most visited vacation destination in Southwest Asia after Dubai, U.A.E, and Sharm el-Sheikh.
In the 1970s the last Shah of Iran turned the island into a luxury resort for the international elite complete with a Grand Casino and an airport designed to handle the Concorde. After the Islamic Revolution, Kish Island became a duty-free shopping center.
Due to its natural attractions, pleasant weather more than seven months a year, and several recreational and sports centers; today the island has turned into a favorite tourism destination in Iran and the region.
Leila Moltaji, an Iranian woman from Tehran, is visiting the island with 5 friends. She said "The island is a place for us to relax. The island is so beautiful and we can relax a bit more here than in Tehran. Here the police is not that strict.”
Kish has a variety of tourist attractions that can be of much interest to a wide category of tourists. Its untapped nature, beautiful beaches and green areas, alongside the clear azure waters of the Persian Gulf have created a unique combination.
Sarah Ahmadi, 24 year old Iranian woman from Shiraz, is at Kish Island with her sister and mother. "Compared to Shiraz, the roads are new, clean and the cares drive safely" she commented on Kish Island. On why Kish Island is so different from the rest of Iran, she didn't really know, but noted that the way of life on Kish is closer to what Iranians really want.
Senior Iranian government workers including governors are frequently coming to Kish Island. An extensive plan for Kish Island until 2025 has been finalized.