The emergence of cruise tourism in Iran

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Iran is a country with substantial tourism potential. Iran’s tourism industry, however, was side-lined for decades due to international sanctions. The election of President Hassan Rouhani and the subsequent deal on Iran’s nuclear programme (reached on 14 July 2015) has resulted in softening of nuclear-related international sanctions and brought much needed relief to a struggling tourism industry in Iran. The purpose of this paper is to focus on the emergence of cruise tourism—as an attractive option for both domestic and international markets—with the introduction of the Iran’s first cruise ship, named “Sunny”, since the 1979 revolution.

This study is a short viewpoint piece based on the author’s interpretation of cruise tourism development in Iran and its future opportunities and challenges.

Following the nuclear deal, Iran has seen a substantial growth in inbound tourist numbers and attracted considerable investment in tourism-related infrastructure such as air transport and the hospitality sector. While cruise tourism is and remains an emerging phenomenon in Iran, it is evident that the country has a vested interest in developing this lucrative sector due to the country’s strong domestic market and potential to serve the international market.

This is an original topic which has never been investigated before. Cruise tourism is an emerging market in Iran and this study sheds new light on this new development. The paper focuses on the historical, current and future development of the tourism industry in Iran with a specific emphasis on cruise tourism.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0012
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of Tourism Futures
Early online date18 Jun 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jun 2018


  • cruise tourism
  • destination development
  • domestic tourism
  • tourism planning
  • Iran nuclear
  • Iran tourism


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