Leisure and Tourism in Iraq

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.

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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)

Iraq to Reduce Visa Charges for Iranian Pilgrims

By John Lee.

Iraq will reportedly reduce its visa charges for Iranian pilgrims later this year.

According to the report from Associated Press, the reduction will only apply to pilgrims of the “Arbaeen,” the anniversary of the passage of 40 days after the death of Shiite Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson.

Visas normally cost $40, but it was not reported what the new price will be.

(Source: AP)

$1.6bn Investment in a New Tourist City

By John Lee.

Asiacell boss Faruk Mustafa Rasool (pictured) has announced a $1.6-billion investment in a new tourist city on Kurdistan’s Lake Dukan.

According to the report from Rudaw, the 3,250-hectare complex will include accomodation, two cable cars, an island, “and many other interesting places”.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) approved the project, which is is expected to create 26,000 jobs, in 2013, but it was delayed by land disputes and the process of compensating local land owners.

Mustafa is the owner of Asiacell and chairman of Faruk Holding Company.

More here from Rudaw.

(Source: Rudaw)

Video: Iraq’s Largest Indoor Water Park Opens

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

As the summer heat increases in Iraq, Baghdad residents now get to enjoy a new water park, opened as a trial-run in the capital during the Eid al-Fitr religious holiday.

The park’s capacity is 5,000 people, making it the largest indoor water park in the country.

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