Leisure and Tourism in Iraq

Video: After Years of Silence, Music fills Streets of Mosul

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

For centuries, the Iraqi city of Mosul was a magnet for artists across the region and churned out Iraq’s best musicians — but it suffered a devastating ban on music under the rule of the Islamic State group.

Now free from jihadi rule since July 2017, Mosul is starting to make a musical comeback.

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Kurdish Women pedal, dunk, spike as Iraq’s Top Athletes

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

In Iraq, the toughest female competitors, best-equipped facilities and most experienced coaches are considered to be in the Kurdish-majority northern region:

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Women Wrestlers take on Tradition in South Iraq

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Flipping, spinning and pinning each other on the mat, women on Iraq’s first female wrestling squad wrangle in the ring but they also grapple with reactions taking on a sport largely reserved for men in an Iraqi region with strict traditions.

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Tourism in Kurdistan Region hits Record High

The number of tourists visiting the Kurdistan Region this year reached a record high, according to Mr. Mawlawi Jabar, Chairman of the General Board of Tourism.

In an interview with the Kurdistan Regional Government website, Mr. Jabar noted:

In the first six months of 2018, 1.3 million tourists visited the Kurdistan Region, mostly from central and southern Iraq. During the 11-day Eid al-Adha holiday, there were 349,000 tourists, spending 140 billion dinars in the Region.

“In the first four months of 2018 there was a good influx of Iranian tourists visiting the Region. After the Iranian authorities imposed taxes on its citizens for traveling abroad, however, the number significantly decreased. Though smaller in numbers, tourists from other countries are also preferring to visit the Region.

While neighboring countries offer lower costs to Iraqi tourists, the ratio of Iraqi tourists visiting the Kurdistan Region continues to rise.

Mr. Jabar added:

A comprehensive tourism development strategy has been in place since 2014, but the ISIS war and financial crises restricted implementation of strategic plans. Since 2016, however, implementation has been gradually reactivated. For example, loans have been extended to small and medium tourism projects.

“The Board of Tourism has a special department for invigorating protection of the environment. To raise awareness, we are working to protect the environment through the media, publications and other awareness tools.

Regarding private sector’s role in developing tourism, he said, “Part of the strategic plan is to support the essential role of the private sector. He said Kurdistan’s tourism companies have good relations with companies abroad and play an important role in attracting tourists.

He said, “Tourism investment has rapidly grown in the Kurdistan Region and its effectiveness is illustrated by the rising number of visitors and revenue.

(Source: KRG)

Video: Sanctions Prevent Iranians marking Ashoura in Iraq

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

US sanctions have made it too expensive for Iranian Shia Muslims to travel to Iraq to mark Ashoura.

Ashoura is a day of remembrance, commemorating the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.

Al Jazeera’s Rob Matheson reports from Baghdad:

Religious Tourism Suffers from Sanctions on Iran

By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq’s religious tourism suffers from US sanctions on Iran

US economic sanctions on Iran are stemming the flow of religious tourists to neighboring Iraq, even as the Muslim holy month of Muharram has already begun on Sept. 11. Also approaching is Ashura, the Shiite commemoration of the death of Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, on Sept. 20.

Officials say the number of Iranian religious tourists traveling to Iraq has fallen significantly because of the penalties against Tehran, which Washington reinstated Aug. 7.

Click here to read the full story (registration required).

Erbil Stadium to be Sold to Private Investor

By John Lee.

Erbil’s main outdoor stadium will reportedly be sold off to a private investor.

According to Rudaw, a new stadium will be built on the site of the Franso Hariri Stadium.

The existing 28,000-capacity venue was built in 1956 and refurbished in 1992.

More here from Rudaw.

(Source: Rudaw)

(Picture credit: Kushared)

Ouzo Gains Popularity in Iraq

By John Lee.

Greek ouzo has reportedly become extremely popular in Iraq in recent years, with imports increasing steadily.

According to greekreporter.com, ouzo is now replacing Iraq’s popular arak, a transparent drink very similar to Greece’s ouzo or raki.

Komotini-based company Distillery Winery of Thrace claims to have an 85-percent share of the Iraqi ouzo market.

More here.

(Source: greekreporter.com)

Rotana Hotels appoints new General Manager

Rotana Hotels has announced the appointment of Ramy Haykal (pictured) as Cluster General Manager of Erbil Rotana & Erbil Arjaan by Rotana.

Ramy began his career with InterContinental Hotels Group in 1996 as the finance director for Middle East and Africa.

As the new General Manager of Erbil Rotana and Erbil Arjaan by Rotana, Ramy will be the key leader overseeing the two hotels operation consisting of 369 rooms and suites, a Club Rotana floor for executive business travelers, seven food & beverage outlets, a health club & spa in addition to 14 fully equipped meetings & events venues.

(Source: Rotana)