Iraqi Kurdistan Courting Iranians

Iraqi Kurdistan Courting IraniansIraqi Kurdistan Courting Iranians

During his visit to Iran, chairman of the General Authority for Tourism (GAT) in Iraqi Kurdistan Maulvi Jabbar Wahab asked Iranian officials to resolve logistic problems, such as giving Iraqi Kurds visa waivers, in order to promote and develop mutual cooperation in tourism between the two neighboring nations, ISNA reported.

Iraqi Kurdistan hosted about 3 million visitors and earned a total of $650 million dollars in 2014 from tourism alone. Establishment of modern infrastructure in the region began in 2007; a year which saw only 380,000 tourists visit the country. Seven years on, the number of tourists has seem a whopping 7-fold increase.

The region’s officials plan to transform Kurdistan into a global tourist destination by 2025. They have set themselves yearly 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 Turkey – and now Iran. They believe expanding ties with other countries will have a profound effect on Kurdistan’s tourism revenue.

On his visit to Iran, Wahab was hard at work meeting tourism officials as well as major players in the private sector promote Kurdistan’s tourist attractions. He knows that Kurdistan has only 11 years to meet its tourism goals, so he did not waste time.

“We want to encourage Kurds to visit Iran, hoping that this will promote Kurdistan and encourage Iranians to visit the region,” he said, and added that the GAT will spare no effort in providing the best possible services to Iranian tourists.