Over two Million tourists visited Kurdistan in 2012
Kurdistan is becoming a hotspot for tourists, and locals are going to great lengths to make sure the region is ‘tourist friendly’. Nadir Rosti, the spokesman for Kurdistan Region’s General Board of Tourism has said, “Year by year the number of tourists to Kurdistan has increased. In 2012 nearly 2.17 million people visited the region’s tourist attractions. 80% of the visitors were local people while 20% were from outside”.
According to Rosti, the number of tourists has increased by 30% in 2012 since 2011. Approximately 1,702,390 people visited the region, and the Board’s strategic planning has indicated that they are hoping the number of tourists would increase by 4 million in 2015.
Every year, different figures are announced by the Board, traffic police and security officials. The figures are not always consistent, but the Board’s figures are confirmed by Kurdistan Regional Government’s Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Planning.
There are 444 hotels, 242 motels, 54 tourist villages, and 1480 restaurants and cafeterias in Kurdistan Region. This year, 41 Million Iraqi Dinars were allocated for 47 tourist projects, adding up to 77 tourist projects in total -- currently there are 30 tourist projects which are under construction, costing 27 million Iraqi Dinars.
Kurdistan Region has seen a great boost in tourism over the past few years. It has been recognized for its impressive natural landscapes and more importantly because it is the only region in Iraq that offers security.
During the spring and summer seasons, every day, thousands of tourists from Middle and Southern Iraq, and many others from outside of the region visit Kurdistan. The region has beautiful mountains, and landscapes. Local businesses have been set up to offer tourists mountain biking, hiking, and many other exciting activities.
Tourists visit Ahmad Awa village in the Hawraman district.