A Fresh Look at Iraq: Tourism as a Long-Term Stabilizing Factor
|May 30, 2010||Filled under All Dinar Trade Articles|
Often referred to as the cradle of civilization, Turkey’s neighbor Iraq has three UNESCO World Heritage sites to offer plus a number of others already on their tentative list
Step-by-step, incoming tourism has become the focus of attention for a number of Iraqi ministries and government departments. Can tourism help to stabilize a still-volatile environment? Should Turkish entrepreneurs look across the border and support their colleagues trying to make a living in the same sector? How long will it take until both Iraqi and foreign tourists can freely and safely travel all around the country?
Back in August of 2006 Iraqi Kurdistan Tourism’s official website evaluated its first international advertising campaign, “The Other Iraq.” In their own words “the campaign had tried to differentiate relatively safe Kurdistan from the rest of the country, where insurgent bombings and sectarian violence [were] daily occurrences.” Already at that time the local government aimed to generate business investment for a future tourism sector, a remarkable undertaking given the fact that insurgents were active in most parts of the country on a near daily basis.
In the same year a promotional advertisement from the Kurdistan Development Corporation was aired on US television.
Perhaps being overly optimistic at the time, things did begin to pick up, albeit extremely slowly. International media is the perfect ally to promote a perhaps up-and-coming destination and three years later, the BBC’s Hugh Sykes (March 22, 2009) had in more general terms reported on Iraq’s emerging tourism industry and spoke with a British tour company which at the time arranged 17-day-long trips to the country. His impression was that the British tour operators opted to keep a “low profile” due to continuous security alerts.
He cited the Ministry of Tourism in Baghdad’s “hope that, like Northern Ireland, Iraq will recover from its reputation for terrorism — and become better known for…(more story)
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