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Number of Kurdish travellers visiting Turkey doubles

By Rudaw 23/5/2017
Tourists outside Istanbul's Blue Mosque. Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP
Tourists outside Istanbul's Blue Mosque. Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region— An increasing number of Kurdish holidaymakers are again travelling to neighbouring Turkey after the number of visitors dropped in the last two years mainly due to visa restrictions and harsh economic times on both sides of the border. 

According to tourist companies in Zakho near the Turkish border, travel to Turkey over the first three months of the year has increased by nearly 50 percent, an upward trend which has also affected the price of tickets and visa applications. 

“We sold around 15 to 20 tickets a day last year, now we sell maybe 60 to 70 tickets a day, which of course means that the tide has turned and people spend money,” said Maalouf Khalil who runs a tourist firm in Zakho. 

According to the Ministry of Municipalities and Tourism, the rising number of vacationers is only partly due to the modest economic recovery in the Kurdistan Region and mainly because of incentives that tourist companies have received from the Kurdish government this year, allowing them to make larger profits and boosting the Region’s own tourism economy. 

“If a Kurdish tourist company cooperates with tourist companies abroad and brings them to the Kurdistan Region, then the government will relieve both companies from paying taxes and tariffs by almost 90 percent, which has of course encouraged many Kurdish companies to connect with foreign tourist firms,” said Chia Amin Usman at the ministry. 

Usman said so far the incentives have led to a 60 percent increase in foreign tourist firms in the region. Authorities hope more vacationers, especially from the Middle East, choose Kurdistan Region as their destination.  

Authorities have planned to invest millions in modern infrastructure and build hundreds of new tourist attractions across the Region, which they hope will bring back their missing vacationers.

Over 200 domestic and international firms showcased their services earlier this month at one of the largest tourism exhibitions in Kurdistan, a government-sponsored effort to revive the ailing but promising tourism sector in the region. 

The three-day Middle East Tourism Expo 2017 in Erbil was part of a long-term government plan to attract vacationers to the Kurdistan Region.


kurt basar | 23/5/2017
Congratulation, it's Kurdish stupidity at best, somehow with their slave Muslim mentality they support their enemies, who are killing the Kurd's by burning them alive or killing the Kurd's same as wild animals. I wonder, How could they betray 25 millions of their Kurdish brothers, who are suffering at the hand of those fascist/racist Muslim/Mongols, who are openly at war with the Kurd's all over the world, god give the Kurd's some brain
A Kurd in exile | 24/5/2017
In my book, any Kurd who travels to Turkey as a tourist, or travels on Turkish Airline, or buys any Turkish-made product, is a traitor. Period! No self-respecting, patriot Kurd should contribute one single penny/dinar/lira/rial or whatever to the Turkish economy. Even the Kurds in Northern Kurdistan (or Turkish-occupied Kurdistan) should boycott all Turkish products. One of the ways that Mahatma Gandhi defeated the colonialist Britain and liberated India from the British occupation was the economic boycott of all British-made products. The Kurds should learn those kind of lessons from history and follow the steps of great people and great leaders like Gandhi.
kurdi Sabllaghim | 24/5/2017
My Kurdish nation: Well-done go and spend your hard earned money in Turkey to improve the enemies economy....!!!. Go and spend your money in a country that is anti Kurd, killing the Kurds in Turkey and Syria and destroying the Kurdish cities and towns in Turkey...!!! With this mentality that we all have, we will never have a country of our own...well done do it. You're doing very well.
kurdi Sabllaghim | 24/5/2017
@ Kurd basar & A Kurd in exile: I'm on board with what you're saying however, it appears some of our enemies or agents penetrated into this website and thumps down our comments. Or it could our own traitors including Jashi kurumsagh or Ghoruci. But we'll win. It's our duty to educate our nation and fight with our pen using our thoughts not western or enemies thoughts and weapons!
Anton | 24/5/2017
Kurds in Turkey means terrorist
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