People, Travel

Iran Firms Explore Opportunities in Iraqi Kurdistan

Iran Firms Explore Opportunities in Iraqi KurdistanIran Firms Explore Opportunities in Iraqi Kurdistan

At the invitation of Iraqi Kurdistan’s General Authority for Tourism, 10 Iranian companies traveled to the autonomous region this week with the aim of expanding bilateral ties.  

GAT’s public relations director said his office wants to have Iranian companies see firsthand the tourism opportunities and security conditions in the region and establish relations with Kurdish companies so that travelers from both sides can benefit from what each side has to offer, IRNA reported.

“As a neighboring country, being on good terms with Iran is very important to us and we have serious plans to boost our tourism ties,” said Nader Rousti, adding that he hopes expanding tourism relations will help improve two-way economic interaction.    

The Iranian companies, whose names were not disclosed, visited Diana, Erbil and Sulaymaniah.

Iraqi Kurdistan is an autonomous region in the north of Iraq officially governed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) which was created after the downfall of the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Undeterred by the security challenges posed by the so-called Islamic State militants, Kurdish officials plan to transform the region into a global tourist destination by 2025. They have set themselves annual goals, such as boosting the number of tourists, building hotels, and improving revenue.

To that end, the region’s tourism officials have already started courting other nations, such as Austria and Iran. Inhabited by nearly seven million Kurds, Iran is an ideal target for the tourism sector to invest in.  

Nearly two million tourists from Iran visit Kurdistan every year.  

On his visit to Iran last year, GAT chairman Maulvi Jabbar Wahab said that the GAT wants to promote Kurdistan and encourage more Iranians to visit the region and will spare no effort in providing the best possible services to the tourists. He also met with Morteza Rahmani Movahed, the tourism deputy at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, asking for support in the restoration and maintenance of historical structures in the Iraqi Kurdish region.