The Middle East Tourism Exhibition was attended by 200 tourism companies and agencies from the Kurdistan Region, Iraq and 16 foreign countries. Photo: Rudaw video
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—During the three days of Erbil Tourism Exhibition last week 203 contracts were signed with 16 other countries to facilitate travel for tourists to and from the Kurdistan Region, the tourism office said.
The Middle East Tourism Exhibition was attended by 200 tourism companies and agencies from the Kurdistan Region, Iraq and 16 foreign countries.
“Nearly 203 contracts and different memorandums of understanding were signed between Kurdistan Region’s companies and foreign companies,” the head of Kurdistan Region’s Tourism Body, Mawlawi Jabar, told Rudaw.
The contracts were signed with Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Tunis, Lebanon, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Turkey and Belarus. Other contracts were signed too among local companies. Foreign companies also had a chance to sign contacts with Iraqi companies.
In an attempt to increase revenue, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has been over the past two years working on developing and upgrading the region’s tourism sector.
Last year, the KRG collected 3.530 billion Iraqi Dinars in taxes from companies, hotels, motels, restaurants and tourist attractions.
The KRG is hoping that these exhibitions can attract more tourists to the Kurdistan Region.
The Kurdistan Region has been paying special attention to this sector, particularly after the KRG formed the General Body of Tourism in 2011.
In a speech at the exhibition Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said: “The Kurdistan Regional Government considers tourism a job creator, revenue generator and something that links cultures and brings people together.” Barzani said, thanking tourist companies from 14 countries as well as Kurdish and Iraqi companies for arranging the fair.
“Kurdistan’s beautiful nature, mountains, rivers and ancient sites, tolerance, openness and hospitality and its different seasons are basis for and encourage of tourism.” PM Barzani said. “We have the chance to make this an international tourist destination.”
The Kurdish Prime Minister said an event like the Middle East Tourism Fair “at this particular time means the return of confidence to Kurdistan’s tourism market and its recovery. It shows the steps the KRG took to improve the situation have borne fruit.”
Barzani said that his government has friendly laws and incentives for foreign and local investment in the tourism sector and he invited all to head to the region and participate in building its private sector in all fields, tourism in particular.