Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tourism official: “tourism grows with more investments in Kurdistan”

Erbil / Mariwan Salihi
A large influx of tourists to Iraqi Kurdistan is the main result of the increase in foreign investments, according to a tourism official.
Kanan Bahaddin Khedr, 30, director of media at the Iraqi Kurdistan Tourism Ministry, said: “90% of tourism projects in Kurdistan are being implemented by foreign investors. These projects include many five-star hotels, shopping malls, ski-resorts and theme-parks. We also offer the investors land for a symbolic price, in order to encourage them more to build their projects.”
“We are offering all kinds of services to foreign tourists. These include translators, guides, brochures, hotel reservations and transportation. We hope all foreign tourists will come to our ministry in order to assist them.” He also mentioned that most tourists are Iraqis coming from outside Kurdistan Region and from the US, UK, Germany, France and some neighboring countries.
In the case of the three American tourists who crossed Kurdistan’s border to Iran and their detention, he said: “Those Americans never informed us about their presence in our region and didn’t ask for our services. We can’t be held responsible for their adventure.”
Jamila Mahdi Saleh, 32, guest relations officer at the five-star Erbil International Hotel (“Sheraton”), said that most of their hotel guests are businessmen, investors and politicians. “Tourists intend to go to less expensive hotels than ours”, she admits”.
Albert Joseph, 42, French tourist visiting Kurdistan, mentioned the many qualities this region has. This region being safe, is one of his main reasons for the visit. He is amazed by the many archeological sites in Erbil, including its ancient citadel, making it the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city. Kurdistan’s beautiful nature and its diverse of many cultures and religions living side by side, also attracted him to the region. “My dream is to visit all of Iraq and its ancient sites”.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Lisa said...
    Never knew Iraq had a tourism industry going on. Amazing to read articles like these. I am looking forward to see more pictures about your beautiful country. I found about this article while searching for the missing Americans.

    Thank you,

    Lisa Robertson, Toronto, Canada.