Kurdistan Region participates in International Tourism Fair in Spain
The Kurdistan Region for the first time participated in FITUR 2013, a major international tourism fair in Madrid, in order to present and promote the region as a tourist hotspot.
The Kurdistan Region was represented at the fair by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Representation in Spain, the Kurdistan General Board of Tourism and the tourism company Marjan Group. The event ran from 30 January to 3 February at the Feria de Madrid convention centre.
Mr Daban Shadala, the KRG Representative to Spain, said that he was very pleased with the Kurdistan Region’s participation as FITUR is an internationally acclaimed event.
Mr Shadala said, “The Kurdistan Region has much potential for tourism; we possess many ancient archeological sites which could be of huge fascination to those interested in history. Moreover, the Kurdistan Region encompasses the Zagros mountain range which of- fers breathtaking scenery.”
He added, “There is considerable business travel to Erbil, but it is now time for the KRG and our companies to take on the challenge of working in the tourism industry, to promote the Region as a place to visit for leisure and sightseeing.”
Mr Shadala said that the KRG Representation in Spain is ready for more cooperation with companies and other entities to promote the Kurdistan Region as a tourist destination.
Mr Mawlawi Jabar Wahab, Head of the KRG’s General Board of Tourism, said, “FITUR is one of the world’s most important tourism fairs, so we consider the participation of a Kurdish company as a big step toward marketing our tourism sector internationally. We encourage Kurdish companies to cooperate with their foreign counterparts in order to create and provide tours.”
He added, “The General Board of Tourism’s policy is to establish new spaces in which to market the Kurdistan Region. The plan is to participate in various international tourism fairs and to publicise Kurdistan as a tourism hotspot in the international media.”
Mr Hindreen Al-Ozairy, the Director of Marjan Group, said, “This was a unique opportunity not only for the company, but also for introducing the Kurdistan Region to the people of Spain as a tourist destination.”
He added, “We realized that Kurdistan is not very well known here in Spain, but we have discovered that there are a lot of tour- ists interested in visiting new and interesting destinations, with many people expressing their interest in visiting Kurdistan.”
Mr Al-Ozairy said that Marjan Group hopes to participate in the fair next year with a larger stand and more participating Kurdish travel agents.
Last year the International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) had over 9,000 exhibitors from 167 countries or regions, nearly 120,000 trade participants, and over 90,000 visitors from the general public.
Visitors stop by the stand of Kurdish Marjan Travel Group booth at the Madrid Fair.