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Over 700k tourists visited Sulaimani in 2021 first half, says official

  2021-07-06  | 
 Zhyan News Network
Tourists are seen at Kuna Masi resort north of Sulaimani, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, July 6, 2021. Photo by Zana Jalal/ Zhyan News Network no
 Zhyan News Network

SULAIMANI – More than 700,000 mostly from central and southern Iraq visited the resorts and recreational venues in Sulaimani governorate in the first half of 2021, an official said. 

85 percent of the tourists were from other provinces under the Iraqi federal jurisdiction, Ali Rauf Ghafur, the head of the Sulaimani General Tourism Directorate, said in a statement on Monday. 

“The rate of the coming tourists through the checkpoints, border crossings and airports have scored a good level in the past six months,” Rauf said, claiming the incomes collected from the tourism sector “saved several business owners from bankruptcy and joblessness and have a good role in considerably reviving the market.”

The security stability, the fascinating nature of the resorts, recreational sites, the presence of several large markets and hospitality by the locals were factored in the multitude of tourists in the governorate, the official said. 

The official also predicted a further boom for the tourism sector in the governorate if the state of COVID-19 pandemic is further put under control in the coming six months.

In May, Ghafur said that more than 110,000 tourists arrived in Sulaimani between May 11 to 18, including 90 percent from central and southern Iraqi governorates. 

The emergence of the coronavirus pandemic in early March 2020 affected the sector, which is one of the main sources for the local businesses in the economic-crisis-hit Kurdistan Region. 

(Zhyan English)