Iran Unaffected by Flight Bans to Iraqi Kurdistan

Iran Unaffected by Flight Bans to Iraqi KurdistanIran Unaffected by Flight Bans to Iraqi Kurdistan

The Iraqi government’s air ban on Kurdistan autonomous region, which went into force on Friday, is not expected to have any effect on tourism ties with Iran since such relations were insignificant, an official at the Travel Agents’ Guild Association said.

“The Kurdistan region was once a destination for Iranians who sought to attend concerts, but it never became a popular and permanent target,” Hormatollah Rafiei, the head of the association’s board of directors, told Khabar Online.

He added that most of the trips to the region were for business purposes and about 40-50% of the flights’ capacities were often empty.

“The trips were so few that no chartered flights were ever launched for the route,” he said.

According to Rafiei, the region was not a target of Iranian tour operators and therefore the ban does not affect their business.

“The number of incoming tourists from Iraqi Kurdistan was also so insignificant that the region was never regarded a source of inbound tourism,” he said.  

Akbar Ghamkhar, another member of the association, said the new ruling may only pose challenges for European travelers who used the route for transit.

“It is not a serious issue though, as they can easily use alternative routes,” he said.

The flight ban was imposed by the Baghdad administration in retaliation for an independence vote that has drawn widespread opposition from foreign powers.


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