ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region recorded a 47 percent increase in the number of tourists in 2018 compared to the year before, a Kurdish minister said on Tuesday.
“The number of tourists visiting the Kurdistan Region in 2018 reached 3,057,000,” Newroz Mawlood, the Kurdistan Region’s Minister of Municipalities and Tourism, said in a press conference. “The number has increased by 47 percent.”
Over the past few years, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has explored different ways to generate revenue—the tourism sector has been one of them.
“The number of tourists visiting the Kurdistan Region was low in the past, but through the KRG’s plans, in 2016, the number reached 1.5 million and then increased to 2.1 million in 2017,” Mawlood added. “Last year, just as we planned, the number passed three million tourists.”
Most of the tourists who visit the Kurdistan Region come from central and southern provinces of Iraq while others come from Iran and abroad.
The semi-autonomous Kurdish region has rich historical sites, plenty of tourist destinations, and provides security as well as warm hospitality. Additionally, its geographic location and environment ensure the region stands out from the rest of the country.
According to Mawlood, as a result of the various activities the Kurdistan Region’s four provinces organized, 136,000 tourists visited Kurdistan for New Year celebrations, which he said is “a new record.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany