Massive tourism projects under construction
Notable projects in pipeline to prepare Erbil to welcome tourists for 2014 and win the Arab Tourism Capital accolade
Recently, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Tourism General Directorate said that famous international companies will be arriving to develop the tourism sector.
“Several prominent international hotels would like to start a branch in Erbil such as Marriot and Sheraton,” Tourism Directorate General Spokesman Barzan Mohammed said.
He also added that the biggest ever tele-cabin in Iraq, as claimed by officials, is currently finished between Korek Mountain and the town of Rawandiz, adding that it is ready to welcome tourists. He further stated that a special place for skiing is under construction on the mountain.
The official said that there are several more prominent projects in Korek such as the building of 160 motels and high quality restaurants.
Following Erbil’s nomination as the Arab Tourism Capital for 2014, the KRG’s tourism institutions have been working hard to get the city ready to welcome tourists from across the world, the official revealed. More arrangements The director remarked that they have put the cornerstones of a tourism center to train and educate tourism staff in order to guide the tourists.
Months ago Iraq nominated Erbil in a competition to reveal top tourism capitals for 2014-15 among Arab countries. This is the first time Iraq has competed for this economically important title.
In 2013, around 30 cultural activities and festivals will be conducted with the intention of preparing the grounds to welcome tourists in 2014.
The spokesman also said that all the tourism related conferences of the Arab countries will be carried out in the capital city of Erbil.
Ease of transportation, plentiful historical sites and sufficient hotels and restaurants are factors in identifying the Arab tourism capital.
To widen tourism related activities, it is currently trying to invest on religious and sporting festivals in order to attract the attention of as many people across the world, according to the spokesman.
With only a year remaining to 2014, officials acknowledge that the period is short to prepare the city sufficently.
Erbil’s governor Nawzad Hadi in a previous interview with The Kurdish Globe said that the Tourism Ministry in Baghdad had made this decision because Erbil has witnessed a number of quality changes in terms of economic infrastructure and in a number of other aspects and has developed in the past few years in terms of roads, streets, parks, shopping malls and enjoys the best situation compared to all other Iraqi cities, to allow Iraq to compete with other Arab cities in this competition and for the title of 2014 Arab Tourism Capital.
Poor quality tourist attractions, local expense rate and lack of accommodation are the main concerns for tourists.
The official said that the directorate recently made a decision that all the hotels, motels and restaurants have to hang the prices up in their lobbies.
Mohammed also warned that it will fine any place if they violate the ministry’s regulations.
An illustration of the Kempinsky Hotel building currently under construction in Erbil