ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The number of tourists during the Eid increased by 129 percent compared to last year, Kurdistan Region Board of Tourism revealed on Thursday.
The Board stated that “The tourism sector in Kurdistan Region has successfully attracted numerous tourists during the Eid of Ramadan. The number has reached a higher level which is over 122,000 tourists. That is a 129 percent increase.”
The board mentioned that the arrival of tourists in the Kurdistan Region continues, emphasizing that thousands of tourists visit the Region every day.
The report indicates that the number of tourists in 2015 Eid was over 30,000, but this number has quadrupled in 2016.
This comes at a time that the Kurdistan Region is critically suffering from a financial crisis and the Region shares over 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) border with the Islamic State (IS) in the north of Iraq.
The Board attributes the success of the tourism sector to the cooperation and prior agreement with other sectors in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Kurdistan Region security as well as the victories that Peshmerga forces have achieved in pushing back the jihadists.
According to the Tourism Board, the booming in the sector is likely to alleviate the financial crisis in the Kurdistan Region.
Moreover, the Administration Director of Tourism Directorate in Erbil Province Ismael Minakhan told Kurdistan24 on Tuesday that the boost of tourism in Kurdistan is partly due to the close cooperation between the Kurdistan Region Security and Board of Tourism.
The spokesperson of Tourism Board of Kurdistan Region Nadr Rusti previously mentioned that 70-80 percent of the tourists are from southern provinces of Iraq while the rest are from the neighboring countries.
Although the number of tourists has increased in the Kurdistan Region in 2016, according to the Tourism Board the ratio is still low compared to 2013.
Before IS emerged in Iraq in June 2014, Kurdistan Region had over three million tourists in 2013. The number decreased to less than one million in 2015.
Editing by Ava Homa