Laden with goods, Kurds return from Iran taking advantage of the country’s falling currency. Photo: Rudaw TV
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurds are taking advantage of the collapse of Iran’s currency to visit the neighbouring country while prices are lower.
"Our visit was very enjoyable because the value of the Iranian currency has decreased. We spent little money and brought back gifts," Jeger Abdullah described his recent visit to Iran.
Numbers of travelers crossing the border from Kurdistan to Iran have gone up by 26 percent, according to Azvar Mahmod, director of customs at Bashmakh border gate.
Numbers going the other way have dropped, however, by 15 percent.
Iran's currency has plunged more than 50 percent in value in the past six months amid uncertainty as the US prepares to re-impose sanctions after withdrawing from the nuclear deal.
"This time my visit was different. Before when I went to Iran, it was costly for tourist or medical purposes. This time, because of the collapse of the Iranian currency, my travel was much cheaper," tourist Saifadin Abdulrahman told Rudaw.
The price of goods has not been affected yet, according to Mahmod in the customs office.
"The collapse of the Iranian currency has not affected the import of Iranian items. But people in the Kurdistan Region look at this currency devaluation as a great opportunity to travel to Iran," he explained.
Tehran has introduced measures on travel in an effort to limit the outflow of dollar – including paying an exit fee when traveling abroad.