FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour heading to Iran for the first time

One of several new venues on the 2015/2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar, Iran’s Kish Island will host the men’s only FIVB Kish Island Open, to be held February 15-19. It will mark the first time an FIVB World Tour event will have been held in the Persian Gulf nation.

The 2015/2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar began with three Open events at the end of 2015. The remainder of the calendar - following the Kish Island Open - will include a further ten FIVB Opens, five FIVB Grand Slam events along with three Swatch FIVB Major Series stops, and the second Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals. The highlights of the calendar will also include the beach volleyball tournament at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

The 2015/2016 FIVB World Tour schedule lists only one other single-gender event with the men scheduled to return to Doha, Qatar (April 4-8), where they also ended the 2015 portion of the 2015/2016 schedule with a FIVB Open event last November 9-13.

Kish Island is a 91.5-square-kilometer (35.3 square miles) resort island in the Persian Gulf. It is part of the Hormozgan Province of Iran. 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. It has an estimated population of 26,000 residents and about one 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, United Arab Emirates and Sharm el-Sheikh.

Since the mid-1990s the Iranian government has embarked on a promotional and developmental campaign to tailor Kish as a rival to Dubai but mainly a big rival to Doha. Steps taken in order to accomplish this include launching massive construction projects and programmes designed to attract foreign investment and trade.

The event resumes the road to Rio that lasts until June 13, 2016 with FIVB World Tour events counting towards the Olympic Ranking in order to determine 15 of 24 spots for each gender that will take part in the Rio 2016 Olympic Game.