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Nearly 200K tourists travel to Kurdistan Region over past two weeks

  2021-05-24  | 
 Zhyan News Network
File Photo - Tourists in Ahmadawa resort in Khurmal sub-district, 84 kilometers east of Sulaimani
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – Approximately 200,000 tourists have arrived in the Kurdistan Region, mostly from provinces under federal jurisdiction, since the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) rescinded a travel ban seven days ago.

On Sunday, head of Sulaimani General Tourism Directorate Ali Rauf Ghafur said in  statement that more than than 110,000 tourists arrived in Sulaimani between May 11 to 18, including 90 percent from central and southern Iraqi governorates, said an official on Sunday (May 23).

The tourists came to the governorate through checkpoints, borders crossings and airports, Ghafur said, noting COVID-19 protective measures were taken, especially testing the tourists for the contagious disease.

“All the guesthouses were thronged with tourists in the three days of Eid [Eid al-Fitr],” he said. “Most of the malls, restaurants, takeaways, tourist and popular units managed to better receive the city’s guests.”

More than 62,000 tourists have also traveled to Erbil governorate since May 17, Head of Erbil General Directorate Ismail Minakhan told the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official media outlet.

“They come in tourist groups. They should have their [COVID-19] tests with themselves and they should adhere to the measures, especially donning face masks, if not, the company will be penalized and not allowed to bring tourist groups again,” Minakhan added. 

While spokesperson for Duhok General Tourism Directorate Rewar Ali told Zhyan News Network over the phone that over 16,000 tourists has visited the governorate over the past eleven days.

On May 13, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) rescinded its travel ban with other Iraqi provinces that paved the way for influxes of tourists to enter the Region. 

Tourism is a lifeline for local businesses in the economic crisis-hit Kurdistan Region, but the industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions.

(Zhyan English)