SULAIMANI (ESTA) — During 2022 alone, as many as 1.8 million tourists visited Sulaimani, the city enjoying a boom in tourism activities, thriving the sector after suffering from a hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, an official on Monday said.
A massive number of tourists visited Sulaimani this year with the vast majority from the southern provinces of Iraq, Ali Rauf, the Director of tourism told Esta via a phone call.
“Tourism is an important sector for revenue, it can be relied on as an essential one if it’s able to be evolved,” Rauf said.
Until this point, 1.8 million tourists visited Sulaimani, Iraqis from southern provinces were at the top, followed by Iranians and other forefingers, according to Rauf’s words.
Sulaimani made a good start to 2022 after a very poor tourism activity in 2020 due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions and other measures, which plunged both the number of visitors and tourism revenues.
The Director also pointed out to the city’s security why such a vast number of tourists visited Sulaimani.
He also voiced confidence that Sulaimani could attract more tourists than this number.
Sulaiamani has the capacity to host more tourists than this number, in terms of owning hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions, thereby it can host 25,000 tourists at one time, according to Rauf.
“The directorate of Sulaimani tourism possesses an expanded project to thrive the sector more,” he added.
The Tourism board of the Kurdistan Region released a statistic in mid-Sep, showing that from January this year until August, three million tourists have entered the Kurdistan Region. 85% were from the southern Iraq provinces, with 15% of foreigners, according to the Board.
In recent years, stability and security along with various touristic attractions, have turned the Kurdistan Region into a new destination in Iraq for tourism.
Over the past two decades, the Kurdistan Region’s economy had been heavily reliant on the oil and gas sector, which has driven the Region’s development. Kurdish authorities have been trying to diversify, and the tourism sector plays a major role.