ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – With the post-Ramadan Eid al-Fitr festivities due on Tuesday, shops, and restaurants in popular resorts located east of the Kurdistan Region capital of Erbil have restocked in anticipation of incoming tourists for the holidays.
The Kurdistan Region’s numerous resorts are frequent tourist destinations for Iraqis, locals, and foreigners all the same.
Iraqis are often more eager to go on such trips, especially those from areas of warm climate coming to the region to enjoy the refreshing and cool weather of the resorts.
In Soran District, Erbil province, two such resorts are especially attractive sites due to the scenic waterfalls: Bekhal and Gali Ali Bag.
During Eid al-Fitr holidays in 2018, close to 20,000 people visited the area, according to the Kurdistan Region’s tourism committee.
Tourism officials expect about the same number or more to visit again this year.
Since last year, a security checkpoint that slowed movement between Kirkuk province and Erbil has been lifted. Baghdad implemented the restriction, but it has since been reversed.
Over the 10-day Kurdish new year holiday of Newroz, that begins on March 12, around 243,000 tourists entered the Kurdistan Region, which according to the spokesperson for the region’s Board of Tourism, Nadir Rosti, was up four percent from 2018 within the same timeframe.
In early spring, multiple bouts of heavy rains hit the Kurdistan Region and caused infrastructural damage to some remote areas, including destroying many bridges connecting towns, and landslides that affected the resort areas.
“These past two weeks, there has been a concentrated campaign in the [Soran] areas to be able to welcome tourists as best as possible,” another tourism official told Kurdistan 24 on Monday.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany