Tehran, Baghdad Ready to Upgrade Tourism Relations

Tehran, Baghdad Ready to Upgrade Tourism RelationsTehran, Baghdad Ready to Upgrade Tourism Relations

Officials from Iran and Iraq held talks on Monday to upgrade tourism ties by promoting sightseeing places and medical tourism, alongside pilgrimage.

During an Iraqi delegation’s visit to Tehran, Mahmoud Yaghoubi, the director general of tourism at Iraq's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, conferred with Mohammad Moheb-Khodaei, tourism deputy of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, about the need to improve coordination between the public sectors and enforce discipline in the disordered sector, IRNA reported.

The two sides called for monitoring the private sectors' operations by regulating package tours to facilitate and reduce the costs of travel for the citizens of both countries.

Iraq proposed the establishment of a joint company to monitor the tours and support, rather than compete, with the private sector.

Iraqi officials also pointed to the Arab country's natural and historical sites as alternative attractions for Iranians.

Yaghoubi underlined his country’s readiness to arrange tourism plans for Iranians seeking to visit Iraq’s historical and natural sites.

Mainly favored by Iraqi pilgrims interested in visiting Iranian religious places, Iran is also the regional hub of medical tourism.

Moheb-Khodaei highlighted Iran's huge capacities for health tourism as well as halal and family-oriented travel as potential opportunities to attract more Iraqi visitors.

"We are ready to arrange sightseeing and medical tours to Iran," he said, adding that Iran can also dispatch tourism professionals to train Iraqi tour guides.

The two neighboring countries have a longstanding history of exchanging tourists. According to Moheb-Khodaei, close to 1.5 million Iraqis visit Iran annually for pilgrimage, leisure and medical purposes.

Iraq, which is home to a number of holy sites, is also the top destination for Iranian pilgrims. The Arab country hosts some four million Iranians every year.

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