ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Thousands of tourists from across Iraq and neighboring countries are expected to travel to the autonomous Kurdistan Region for the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Board of Tourism said on Tuesday.
Nadir Rosti, a spokesperson for the Board of Tourism, said preparations are underway as the Kurdish region expects the number of tourists to exceed the previous Eid al-Fitr celebrations which saw at least 145,000 people visit within two days.
“We have instructed restaurants, and over 200 hotels and motels to be of service during the Eid holiday,” Rosti told Kurdistan 24, adding security checkpoints would be set up to ensure the safety of tourists.
“In a meeting of the council of ministers, all the related ministries and directorates were requested to cooperate to ensure a safe environment for the tourists.”
Most tourists who visit the Kurdistan Region come from central and southern provinces of Iraq, while others travel from Iran and other countries.
In 2018, the Kurdistan Region recorded a 47 percent increase in the number of tourists compared to the year before. According to Newroz Mawlood, the KRG’s Minister of Municipalities and Tourism, 2018 saw 3,057,000 tourists enter Kurdistan.
Meanwhile, Rosti said the Kurdistan Region aims to attract visitors and facilitate travel to exceed that number “with plans to reach 3.5 million tourists by the end of 2019.”
Over the past few years, the KRG has looked for ways to diversify its revenue with a focus on the tourism sector.
The autonomous Kurdish region has rich historical sites, plenty of tourist destinations, and provides security as well as warm hospitality. Additionally, its geographical location and environment ensure the region stands out from the rest of the Middle East.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany