Iraq plans to boost archaeological tourism

Tourists visit the ancient site of Ur. Iraq wants to increase tourism to ancient archaeological sites in 2012. [Faleh Kheiber/Reuters]

Tourists visit the ancient site of Ur. Iraq wants to increase tourism to ancient archaeological sites in 2012. [Faleh Kheiber/Reuters]

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The Iraqi Tourism Board has drafted a plan aimed at boosting archaeological tourism in the country during 2012.

The plan focuses on two major areas: increasing Iraqi participation in international travel and tourism markets and fairs; and improving the level of services offered to foreign tourists in Iraq.

"Those fairs, which are held every year in Berlin, Tunis, Dubai, and London, represent a valuable opportunity for countries trying to boost their tourism sectors. We shall try to exploit the opportunity in a proper way," board spokesperson Hassan Taha told Mawtani.

"Iraq will be represented in a major way by government and private tourism companies," Taha said. "We will promote our archaeological and tourist landmarks and draw the world's attention by using advertising, such as posters and tourist guide booklets."

He added, "We will also focus on working with more international travel companies to attract foreign tourists and organise tourism trips."

During the past four years, Iraq had reached agreements with several international tourism companies, such as the British Interland Travels, that have been sending tourists from Europe, America, and Southeast Asia to Iraq regularly, he said.

Taha said the plan also includes "strengthening co-ordination with a number of the relevant ministries, such as Foreign Affairs, Interior, and Transportation, to help the board offer the best tourism services in a way that would reflect a positive image compatible with the reputation and status of Iraq as a land of ancient civilization."

"Our joint efforts with those ministries will be focused on granting entry visas to tourists, securing modern transportation to take them to the archaeological sites, and providing enough security protection during the period of their stay in the country, in addition to the services provided during their stay at first class hotels."

Taha predicted an increase in the number of foreign tourists visiting Iraqi archaeological sites in 2012, especially with the improved security situation in the country.

Despite the revival of archaeological tourism in Iraq during recent years, growth is slow compared to the number of foreign visitors who enter the country every day to visit religious sites.

According to official figures, the religious tourism sector witnessed about 1.8 million foreign visitors in 2011 compared to 145 in the archaeological sector. The latter came in 12 tourism groups from France, Russia, Britain, the United States, and Taiwan.

Increasing presence at tourism events

"Archaeological tourism in Iraq regained its footing in 2008 with the arrival of a very small number of tourists," said Fadhil al-Sayegh, director of the Rafidayn Company for Travel and Tourism.

"But this activity remained limited since then as a result of the weak Iraqi presence in international tourism events, which was limited to a small number of local companies concerned with tourism and travel, including our company."

Al-Sayegh said improving the state of tourism requires that the government "expand this presence, increase its support for Iraqi tourism companies, and develop the services and the infrastructure of the tourism sector, with stress on the need to modernise old laws, regulations, and instructions relevant to the tourism industry".

Bakr Hama Siddiq, chairman of the committee on tourism and antiquities in the Iraqi parliament, said his committee supports any plans or programmes that would contribute toward boosting tourism, whether archaeological or religious.

"The tourism industry could generate huge financial revenues for the state budget that would compete with those of oil if attention was focused on how to grow and develop it, particularly since Iraq is considered a country rich in archaeological treasures and religious shrines," Siddiq said.

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  • READER COMMENTS

    عمار

    2012-10-5

    By God, if you remain in Iraq for a while, it would be better than someone who would go and collect the money from other companies!

  • بشير خلف

    2012-6-15

    The Iraqi tourism sector has suffered immensely during the past few years due to terrorist activities that have plagued Iraq and their repercussions. These activities brought this vital sector to a standstill due to the fact that there is a close association between stable security conditions and a thriving tourism sector. Tourism cannot thrive and will abate in the event that security is lacking. Yet, Iraq is now recovering in relation to the tourism sector, given that security conditions are now getting better, particularly in the aftermath of the decline in terrorist activities. In the past few years, many terrorist networks have been dismantled and their remnants have been hit very badly. Thus, tourism is gaining ground once more, especially knowing that Iraq is among the top tourist attractions. This is because of Iraq’s past civilizations, longstanding history as well as museums and archeological sites dating back to many millennia. The forgoing characteristics make Iraq one of the brightest and highly celebrated civilizations of humanity. Tourist groups are now flooding to Iraq to get a closer look at the history of this nation and to be on familiar terms with its ample historical landmarks and tourist destinations. These places are among the most captivating and eye-catching worldwide, thanks to their longstanding heritage and history. While we cannot quite yet avow that tourism in Iraq has regained its desirable status, the signs of its revival are unfolding, which is a positive indication emphasizing that tourism in Iraq will be as good as it was in the past or even better. As a result, we demand that those in charge of the tourism sector in Iraq show concern for this sector and expend further efforts. They should provide it with necessary support to help revive Iraq’s tourism sector. In addition, tourist destinations should receive adequate care so that they can be promoted and to help cast a colorful portrait of tourism in Iraq. The goal is to attract as many tourists from the Arab World and elsewhere to Iraq, especially now that tranquil and stable security conditions prevail in Iraq. Security conditions in Iraq are now thriving, assuring foreign tourists and easing their concerns in relation to the country’s security and safety. As result, it would be possible to reinvigorate this sector so that it may be on par with our aspirations and hopes. We would not only like this sector to reflect a bright picture about this splendid nation, but we also want it to underpin the Iraqi economy and provide an additional stream of income. This will help in the renaissance of Iraq, given the very positive repercussions that could result from a thriving tourism sector on a country’s economy.

  • معاد

    2012-3-25

    I do not think that it is something impossible. The tourism sector is one of the sectors which are not impossible to promote and revive in Iraq. The security situation has a lot of influence on the tourism sector. When Iraq is witnessing security and stability, this would be a message to all the nations and tourists, a message that can encourage everyone to travel to Iraq similar to what is happening now in the Kurdistan region, which became among the areas experiencing great demand by tourists from inside and outside Iraq. All this is due to the stable security situation in this region. Therefore, the security situation is the first point and the basis of the success and promotion of tourism in Iraq, and the prosperity of tourism in Iraq is important. It is not difficult or impossible, but I see that there is plenty of potential for the advancement of tourism in Iraq. We should not forget the media's role in this aspect and it should work to convey the true image of the stable security situation in Iraq. The interest of promoting the tourist areas through advertisements, posters and programs will restore a positive view of the tourism sector. I expect that it will return to prosperity soon. Thank God for all this noticeable security improvement, which contributed to the recovery of its religious tourism. It is demanded by a lot of delegations from various countries around the world and this is a positive indicator for the tourism in Iraq.

  • مراد عبود

    2012-3-25

    Iraq is one of the most beautiful countries that God has ever created. In fact, Iraq is characterized by a beautiful landscape, rivers, fresh water and an ancient civilization that is still alive in this country. However, I think that the tourism sector has suffered greatly because of terrorist acts. These operations led to some kind of stagnation and recession. In fact, there is a close correlation between security conditions and the sector of tourism. This sector cannot prosper in the absence of security.

  • JR

    2012-3-18

    The Babylonian civilization is a unique heritage of a civilization that originated on the banks of the Euphrates River. This civilization is no less superior or glorious than other ancient civilizations. Babylonian civilization dates back thousands of years and is very similar to the ancient civilization of Egypt in that aspect. Nobody knows the whereabouts of the Babylonian and other statues that used to be kept in Iraqi museums. All of them have either disappeared, or been stolen or ruined. Who knows, maybe a shell destroyed a towering monument that witnessed a civilization to which the whole world pays tribute, remembers and respects. Perhaps a shell destroyed a wall or a museum that housed and protected a monument, or it might have killed people who appreciated it and took care of it. Whatever is left now in the so-called Iraqi museums must be preserved. I demand that UNESCO consider and take this issue into account, in order to preserve the legacy of the ancestors, and to prevent our past from being destroyed, as we did with our present and future.

  • عدي

    2012-3-17

    God is great; they should look at the world around them, at Egypt or the Gulf States or European countries and see what real beauty is, and what enjoyment they have! But all that is bad, we see in Iraq, and why? Is Iraq less important than other Arab countries or Europe or what? Where is the Iraqi government? Where is the money that was stolen from the Iraqis? Why are all these things happening only in Iraq? We hope that there will be more opportunities and more serious work in the future, God willing, for a free and beautiful Iraq.

  • هيمان احمد

    2012-3-17

    Tourism brings in a lot of money, and for the development of this phenomenon, we must work with all our best in order to maintain tourism. I'm one of the people that loves and respects the tourism issue in Iraq the most. There are a lot of Arab countries which are fully dependent on tourism. Egypt is one of the Arab countries whose economy as a whole depends fully on tourism; without tourism Egypt could not develop into the next phase. If the Iraqi government works on tourism with all their money, their expertise and working projects, tourism will develop naturally. I’m one of those who call on the Tourism Authority to pay attention to this most important issue and focus on tourism. I want to say that the situation of tourism in Iraq is not good and very low, such that there are places in certain areas of the provinces or in Baghdad as tourist areas but are full of garbage, dirt and all that is bad. The town of Habbaniya is the best proof of this. I'm one of the most critical people of Habbaniya, as it is one of the worst tourist areas in Iraq now. We had gone there once, everything in it has the worst of services, maintenance, electricity, and bad dealing by employees with the citizens in addition to the other silly business of harassment of women and those who bring with them alcohol or drugs and keep saying obscene words.

  • سعدالله امين

    2012-3-17

    Tourism in our country has begun to recover, especially after achieving security victories that ended terrorist groups and the organized criminal gangs, which harmed our country and transmitted a bad image about the reality of the security situation there. Security situation and the great stability in Iraq contributed effectively to attracting tourists to Iraq again and I look forward to more security and stability. I also hope that more attention will be paid to all Iraqi tourist facilities, including religious, archaeological and recreational sites, in order to expand the role of tourism in our country and get more demand for it, not only for religious tourism. We want tourism to expand for the sake of our country, to enhance the economy and increase commercial movement. Although tourists come to visit, but I see that the demand is limited to the religious side only and the other aspects are still movements which require more effort and attention in order to activate and use it to increase the movement of tourists in Iraq.

  • حارث

    2012-3-17

    Tourism is Iraq has recently started to recover and a lot of tourists have started to flock especially for religious tourism. A lot of Muslims and Arabs have started to come to Iraq to visit shrines of our pure Imams in Karbala, Najaf, Samarra or Baghdad. We are optimistic about that.

  • سلطان ابراهيم

    2012-3-14

    It is possible to improve and activate archeological tourism by taking care of and repairing archeological relics and building restaurants, and entertainment places near them, as well as providing all means of comfort for tourists. Tourist should see diversity in archeological cities through building modern infrastructures, paved roads and everything that would help attract tourists to come and visit archeological cities in Iraq.

  • شعلان احمد هادي

    2012-3-14

    Not only do antiques reflect the history and civilizations of their countries, but I also think that if antiques are used properly, they can be beneficial in the field of tourism. A lot of tourists are eager to see Iraq’s antiques left by civilizations which are a study area across the world and they look forward to knowing their history. Thus, everyone is eager to see these antiques, which can be used in a good way. Instead of keeping these antiques in storage, it is necessary to exhibit them by building museums and organizing periodic exhibitions, which can attract more tourists. Thus, these antiques will be an additional tributary to tourism in Iraq. There are only some museums that work in Iraq, including the National Museum, which I think is not enough to promote Iraqi history and the civilizations that were built on its land. Therefore, I hope to see more museums in Iraq in order to revive tourism in this country. Iraq is rich in antiques and it is necessary to use these antiques in tourism. Archeological tourism in Iraq hasn’t reached the hoped-for level. Even archeological sites and cities aren’t visited much by tourists. Likewise, there is a demand for religious tourism in Iraq, the country of good and pure Imams, and I hope to see a similar demand and care for archeological tourism in order to benefit Iraq. Besides it promotes the history of Iraq to tourists all over the world; it could be a financial resource that will support Iraq’s economy.

  • لبددري

    2012-3-13

    Some people explore haphazardly in some areas in search for monuments, and they steal many of them. This also caused damage to several monuments because of the lack of experience among those who are involved in these illegal activities, which became common among the immoral people, especially given the lack of control in these areas and insufficient protection. The Iraqi monuments require special care and more protection in order to protect them from the people who do not know their real value. The monuments represent a cultural heritage and a treasure that we should never ignore. We have to preserve this treasure, like all the countries of the world, which protect their cultural wealth in museums and exhibits. The Iraqi wealth is being looted in a painful way. I do not understand the cause of this attack that seeks to eliminate the history of Iraq and the civilizations that were established on its land. The Iraqi monuments must be secured in a better way, because this is the history of our country, and we should never neglect them.

  • محمود خطيب

    2012-3-13

    The monuments in Iraq are considered a civilizational and cultural heritage that expresses the great history and glory of our civilization that emerged in Mesopotamia. We possess a wonderful history and we have to be proud of it, because the Iraqi monuments are distinguished from the other monuments worldwide by their great age that may reach several thousands of years. Iraq is known for having countless, priceless monuments. We are proud of our monuments and we wish to protect them from the hands of the criminal gangs. As an Iraqi citizen, I look forward to seeing that there is more interest in these monuments in my country, and I look forward to seeing more national museums, where we can display and preserve our monuments to enjoy them and allow the tourists to enjoy them during their visits to our home to learn more about the history of Iraq, where the oldest and greatest civilizations were established. However, I feel pain when I see the monuments suffering from neglect and theft that are carried out by some thieves who are specialized in this respect, and who are unaware of the real value of the monuments.

  • محمود خطيب

    2012-3-13

    The monuments in Iraq are considered a civilizational and cultural heritage that expresses the great history and glory of our civilization that emerged in Mesopotamia. We possess a wonderful history and we have to be proud of it, because the Iraqi monuments are distinguished from the other monuments worldwide with their great age that may reach several thousands of years. Iraq is known for having countless and priceless monuments. We are proud of our monuments and we wish to protect them from the hands of the criminal gangs. As an Iraqi citizen, I look forward to seeing that there is more interest in these monuments in my country, and I look forward to seeing more national museums, where we can display and preserve our monuments to enjoy them and allow the tourists to enjoy them during their visits to our home to learn more about the history of Iraq, where the oldest and greatest civilizations were established. However, I feel pain when I see the monuments suffering from neglect and theft that are carried out by some thieves who are specialized in this respect, and who are unaware of the real value of the monuments.

  • نجم عليوي حماد

    2012-3-13

    We need to build more museums in Iraq in order to exhibit Iraq’s antiques for the entire world to see the history and civilizations established on this blessed land.

  • نادر الموسوي

    2012-3-13

    Iraqi antiques were and still are clear-cut evidence of the antiquity and authenticity of Iraq, and of the nations and civilizations which lived on this land. Iraqi antiques are one of the treasures which all of us are supposed to preserve and take care of because they are everyone’s responsibility. We see that countries take pride in their antiques and civilizations, and we should do the same thing. The world is racing fiercely in order to obtain any archeological pieces, either from Iraq or anywhere else, because they know the value these antiques hold. We in Iraq have thousands of pieces, some of which have been looted by criminal gangs that sold their honor for a handful of money, which will vanish soon, but antiques will remain forever. Iraq is one of the countries that are rich in antiques, of which I, as an Iraqi citizen, am proud. Therefore, these antiques are of great importance and it is necessary to take care of them and improve them as required in a way that lays down the foundation for the culture of preserving antiques from theft and negligence. We can improve the archeological sector in a better way through taking care of the archeological sites in Iraq. In addition, I think that Iraq has more antiques than museums.

  • L$M

    2012-3-11

    The Iraqi monuments represent an important element and a treasure that should be a source of pride for all Iraqis. These monuments are very essential to Iraq in this new era, which will lead us to a bright future, God willing. We need to open new horizons before tourism, and this necessitates taking care of the Iraqi monuments, because the tourists always search for the tourist areas and ancient places. Therefore, the government is required to take care of the monuments and earmark the necessary funds to maintain and exhibit them at special locations and in conditions away from the harmful and damaging weather conditions. The monuments also need to be secured against theft, because this is a very important issue and we must pay more attention to it. There is a necessity to develop and train cadres and specialists in this field and in related historical fields, to benefit from the professors and experts in this respect and to attract more tourists to the home of civilizations and Mesopotamia. Iraq needs to make use of the return of the tourism sector, which will contribute to the improvement of the economic situation and will attract more tourists to Iraq, to become acquainted with all details of the Iraqi history, monuments, historical locations and governorates that carry the Iraqi ancient history.

  • شاهين احمد

    2012-3-11

    The General Authority for Antiquities has put out a future program for the Iraqi archeological cities. And it has held the archeological city of Babylon as a unique model for Arab and foreign tourists. In fact, Iraq has witnessed significant progress in the security aspect. Thus, this will affect the tourists coming to Iraq. These tourists will come to study the Iraqi civilization’s heritage. This is also in order to enjoy the Iraqi buildings and museums that cannot be exchanged for money. In the current time, Iraq is trying to break the obstacles of fear and recession that have affected tourism in Iraq due to the security weakness. In fact, this will achieve tourism prosperity in Iraq. And the whole world will discover the cultural, architectural and artistic products that have been reached by the Iraqi people before thousands of years.

  • نعيم محمد

    2012-3-11

    Iraq is among the countries that have a great history which dates back to seven thousand years before Christ. In fact, most human civilizations have developed and were formed on its land. Besides, the Iraqi lands from the north to the south include huge amounts of precious monuments. These monuments are a source of pride and admiration for Iraqis. And the whole world admires these archeological sites. Thus, Iraq has a great historical position among the countries of the world, thanks to its different civilizations. At the current time, there is cooperation between Iraq and the other countries in order to protect this Iraqi cultural heritage. This is also in order to develop and maintain the different Iraqi museums that have been exposed to a lot of brutal operations. In fact, thieves and monument looters have damaged the civilization’s heritage. Thus, the concerned authorities must work on providing all the tourists’ requirements. This is in order to come to Iraq and enjoy the Iraqi archeological sites and civilization. In fact, the Iraqi people have achieved various civilizations during the different periods. And they have excelled in the field of building and reconstruction. This is in addition to the marble and stone statues which were carved by the Iraqi artists during that period.

  • براء محمد

    2012-3-10

    Tourism needs financial support, effort and action that will also contribute in providing the security aspect which is an important and necessary part so that tourism in Iraq will not have a dangerous or compromising reputation. It would be a country of terrorism once again and it should not be allowed, because Iraq is currently witnessing a different situation entirely from the past. It must be provided with all the conditions of security. There is a radical change in terms of living conditions and the provision of all the necessary services so that Iraq witnesses the birth of a new era. There should be a great change from the past situation, which is completely different from what happened. For this reason, tourism must save a lot of aspects in order to preserve the lives of the Iraqi people and tourists. It will give the country a good reputation and will get rid of all the manifestations of violence and terrorism after a long period of time.

  • ازهر علي

    2012-3-10

    Tourism in the new Iraq needs improvement in a lot of aspects, most important of which is security. The provision of security is a necessary part and must be provided for the safety of the tourists coming to the land of Iraq. Therefore, the tourism boom in Iraq must be in accordance with the terms, laws and regulations through which it will be possible to deal with them and the restoration of the Iraqi touristic activities. Therefore, this will become a prosperous situation and will witness the arrival of many tourists. It is very important that there are places reserved for tourists with high standards of services. It will enable them to enjoy their stay in the land of Iraq.

  • ثابت خالد

    2012-3-10

    It is very important to care about the relics of the country and take an interest in them. It is very necessary to develop tourism in the country. Iraq will be among the tourist destinations which are witnessing development of a better service. There will be a complete, radical change for the areas and aspects that are very important and have an impact on tourism. Iraq today must live in an entirely different situation to what it was previously and the government must provide everything that the tourist needs. Iraq needs a lot of stimuli that will contribute to the restoration of all the activities that are taking place and contribute in improving the economic situation of the country as well as developing and opening new horizons for the new Iraq. For this reason, tourism in Iraq is now in a bad situation and needs a lot of care, development, innovation, change, and promotion on a large scale, which will work on attracting tourists to the land of Iraq under safe and stable conditions, free from any acts of violence, terrorism, bombings, trappings, suicide bombings, kidnappings, or robberies. Therefore, the government should make a lot of effort in contributing to the change of the situation permanently.

  • سهام

    2012-3-9

    I think the antiquities of Iraq are very important for the country and should be preserved because they reflect the civilized image of Iraq’s past, which is important for many people, and the effects are the masters of tourism should be beautified in the best ways possible, nurtured, protected and displayed in a beautiful manner to show the extent of awareness, progress and development in Iraq.

  • ياسين

    2012-3-9

    Iraqi antiquities are precious treasures and must be maintained in order to remain with us and for the future generations, as they represent the culture and ancient history of Iraq, which proves how old this civilization is, and which carries a big meaning of originality and tradition, science and long history. The Iraqi antiquities are the symbols and means of giving the country a great value. Visitors and tourists are always looking for countries that maintain their antiquities, and this is evidence of the commitment of the country to its history and past heritage; all this so that the visitor would understand this country has a very big importance and everyone should respect it as it was founded thousands of years ago. It isnot a new-found country which was discovered recently but is a country with roots the years have left behind, to prove to the world it is one of the old and ancient countries. Therefore, the current generations must maintain these effects and not allow anyone to mess, devastate, break or destroy them. Taking care of them is necessary and very important in order to continue to the next generation, which in turn will protect and carry on the legacy and history of our forefathers and what we let the world see and enjoy will be a source that could bring in a lot of money through tourists, who enjoy the presentation of these antiquities, which are an important national wealth that cannot be compared with other treasures of the earth. Thus, the specialists in antiquities in Iraq should make a lot of efforts in order to devise ways through which these effects could be maintained, whether relics or ancient areas and cities and protect them from the risk of exposure to air and climate that cause damage or exposure to theft or sabotage by vandals and abusers.

  • أبن العراق

    2012-3-9

    Tourism is very important as long as its name is linked to the relics of the country and that tourists always travel to search for relics as well as enjoy viewing them and learning about the culture and civilization of the country that they are visiting. We should not forget that the relics have a very big role in the promotion of tourism and it is a very important source that raises the level of the country's economy. The tourists will be the reason for the improvement of the economic situation because they are always looking for relics and certainly will pay money for it.

  • توفيق علي

    2012-3-8

    The Ministry of Tourism must undertake a lot of works, achievements and services projects in order to achieve tourists’ comfort. It is also important to develop tourism in Iraq in order to reflect a more beautiful image of the country’s civilization. In fact, Iraq has gone through many bad conditions and circumstances. Thus, it is important to improve the tourism situation in the country. It is also important to attract tourists through the media and through cooperating with the companies, contractors, entrepreneurs and investors. This can improve the tourism sector and many tourists will visit the country in order to enjoy the beautiful tourist sites from the north to the south and from the east to the west. Thus, we hope for all the success for Iraq in this tourist sector, God willing.

  • عادل سليمان

    2012-3-8

    Iraqi tourism has witnessed significant neglect. Thus, it is in need of many actions and achievements. It is important to establish important projects which are necessary in the tourism sector. Thus, it is important to allocate large amounts of money to this matter. And we must not forget that tourism is related to the monuments. Thus, it is important to protect these monuments in order for them to be shown in a way that can reflect a civilized image of the country. In fact, the tourists who visit the country want to enjoy monuments, comfort and entertainment. Thus, it is important to build special hotels, clubs, cafeterias, restaurants and entertainment places for the tourists.

  • غسان بشير

    2012-3-5

    The reality of tourism in Iraq is both miserable and very difficult. There can be no tourism in Iraq, because destruction and devastation in Iraq have made it a backward country where you cannot talk about tourism, industry, economy, or art, which normal countries are characterized with while living in security and stability. The wars that this brotherly country went through have destroyed and broken it, so do not ask me about tourism in the country that has been fighting for decades. This is a country where the economy is devastated, children are orphaned, property stolen and everyone manipulated its fate, depending on their personal interests and ambitions in this ancient country, until the reality of anything and everything in Iraq became miserable and grievous. Tourism in Iraq has been destroyed and everyone was afraid to come to Iraq during its war with Iran. Of those who entered to make a living in the Arab brother country, it is known that this period witnessed a war that lasted for more than seven years. During this time, Western countries warned their nationals from approaching and entering the country, thus affecting tourism and the economy significantly. Then came the Gulf War which destroyed Iraq in the hundred days' war, led by America along with some Arab countries. All of this affected tourism and caused a noticeable decline until it became virtually nonexistent. Finally, the war of the twenty-first century, under the leadership of George W. Bush, ended the remaining civilization and progress in this country.

  • عساف احمد

    2012-3-5

    In Baghdad there are a lot of tourist areas which are of historical significance and a lot of tourists who come to enjoy these beautiful scenes. There are some Iraqi antiques which have suffered from a lot of bombing and wars and they need to be taken care of because they yield good money for Iraq and the Iraqis. These areas are of historical importance and considered among the most important places in all Iraq. In my opinion, it is the duty of the Iraqi government to protect and repair these places in order to make them beautiful places and tourist attractions. There should be investors who should take responsibility for these works and they should increase their activities and allocate more money for improving the tourism sector in Iraq. The Iraqi antiques are very important for Iraqis because they are part and parcel of the history and civilization of Iraq. What is most important is that the Iraqi government should do its utmost in order to work on improving all fields in Iraq, especially tourist areas. It should play a real role in Iraq so we will know that we have a government that is concerned with our interests.

  • مصطفى

    2012-3-4

    There is neglect towards the archaeological areas and cultural cities, especially the religious sites and historical buildings, because of the fault in maintenance and repair, and failure to protect archaeological sites and tourist attractions from robbers and artifact thieves, which contributed to the problem that has undermined the tourist attraction in Iraq.

  • Mkah

    2012-3-4

    There are a number of obstacles and challenges that still face the tourism development, which should be addressed. The most important are the insecurity and instability in Iraq, and the criminal acts carried out by the terrorist organizations and armed groups that are behind all the obstacles that Iraq is going through at this time. It is also advisable not to issue clear plans by the departments concerned to establish parameters for tourism and its development processes, through financial allocations for the development of tourism and raising the level of projects completed or planned to be accomplished in the future, commensurate with the level required for a legacy of civilization, which is characterized in Iraq as one of the few countries in the world that has the depth of a great culture that has managed to cast its rays on most countries of the world. However, it finds that the lack of clarity of vision concerning tourism has an impact on the poor performance of the adoption of clear and advanced curricula for the features of tourism, particularly with respect to the development, rehabilitation and training of personnel in the field of tourism, training programs, hotel management for the improvement of the level of services, and tourist facilities that require the eligible elements to engage in this vital work. There is also the employees’ lack of awareness of tourism in Iraq, which reflected negatively on the development of public awareness of the importance of tourism. Most of these people only know a little about the civilizations of their country, which extend back to more than seven thousand years BC. The tourism industry in Iraq is also suffering from the modesty of tourist attractions due to the low level of promotion of tourist information. As far as tourist places and archaeological sites are concerned, they suffer from low level of hygiene in the cities, tourist areas and archaeological sites.

  • ماهر صبحي

    2012-3-4

    The tourism industry in Iraq has been facing many obstacles and problems that led to the shrinking role of tourism in the areas of economic and social development. Despite the contents of Iraq's resources and assets for the advancement of tourism, the industry did not receive the required attention.

  • اشرف صلاح

    2012-3-2

    I call upon the Iraqi Government to maintain the monuments in Iraq and to work on the formation of the security forces in order to protect them from theft or tampering the archaeological sites, leading to damaging a lot of antiques for the lack of knowledge of the methods of extraction or archaeological value. In addition to that they should fight all the illegal actions at these sites by the resident or farmer in order to protect the monuments from deterioration.

  • مسعودحميد

    2012-3-2

    The Iraqi antiquities are considered among the priceless treasures of the country which had high value in human life throughout human history, which spanned more than seven thousand years in Iraq. It involves development and excellence in all the humanitarian and scientific areas that enrich the country in order to inform the whole world about its cultural heritage and whose usefulness still enriches thoughts to this day. The Iraqi antiquities are characterized by their value and utility. The duty which falls to the Iraqi people is to preserve them from damage and tampering through cooperation with the governmental authorities. They should focus on the future generations that will benefit from this cultural heritage as well as other countries that would be interested to get to know what the people of Iraq in the ancient times had done, including the brilliance of its civilization thousands of years ago and whose evidences are still existing so far and reflect the evolution, culture, and creativity reached by the Iraqis before the other nations knew how to write or record their culture. This cultural heritage makes Iraq a country full of creativity.

  • عصام الدليمي

    2012-3-2

    Tourism has become one of the main national income sources for some countries in the world. Tourist activity contributes to the generation of national income since it is considered an important source of foreign currency, especially in countries that face a balance of payments deficit. This compels Iraq to consider its tourism programs, even though it has important energy resources that yield huge revenues in order to diversify its financial resources and create job opportunities. Tourism is considered one of the highest employing sectors. It also creates a state of mind open to the customs and cultures of other countries, and therefore leads to an economically flourishing society. The Iraqi government should view tourism as a promising future horizon. It should make use of the advantages God bestowed upon Iraq. The Iraqi tourism product is considered one of the richest and most diverse products, as it includes religious, archeological and natural tourism. Unfortunately, the situation of tourism is very poor in Iraq, where the number of tourists is still less than desired, due to the administrative corruption which has impacted everything. This sector is still marginalized in this affected country.

  • بلد الحضارات

    2012-3-2

    The civilization of Iraq dates back thousands of years and our Iraqi museums are rich in great monuments that illustrate this honorable and glorious history. In fact, some monuments have not been discovered yet. Thus, I am proud that I am an Iraqi citizen because my ancestors taught humanity writing and set up the first laws that organize human life. For instance, the stele of Hammurabi still proves that. As a matter of fact, we must grant further interest, develop and show this glorious history to the entire world in order to highlight the importance of Iraq among nations. Indeed, the archeological departments must also take an interest in these valuable ancient symbols that represent the history of the country. Besides, the government must work on developing museums and establishing big, modern ones, which must be equipped with the best monitoring devices in order to prevent thefts. In fact, a lot of Iraqi monuments were looted, particularly after the late war in Iraq. After the establishment of these new museums, I wish to invite the other countries to send delegations to discover the Iraqi monuments. I am totally confident that archeological tourism will prosper in the country and will offer a considerable income for the government that will contribute to reconstructing Iraq.

  • عابر فاضل

    2012-3-1

    The archeological sites are completely abandoned. In fact, such a situation allows saboteurs to wreak havoc in them and destroy them as there are no protections, projects or investments as is the case in the other countries. For instance, Jordan, Egypt and Syria have many monuments like we do, however, they do their best to preserve them. Why are we the only country which does not have a government that knows how to protect the monuments and invest them in the proper way?

  • اوزيل

    2012-3-1

    The Iraqi monuments show the history of this country. In fact, they are an important wealth for Iraq. Thus, they must be preserved and taken care of in order to pass from one generation to the other. Our ancestors entrusted us with this responsibility for thousands of years. Like its predecessors, the current Iraqi Government must do its best to preserve this heritage to be inherited by the coming generations. Therefore, I call on the Iraqi Government to take further interest in these monuments. These are not like people to be neglected. They are a great legacy that must be preserved. I call on them because they have fallen short of their duties in taking care of the monuments and protecting them, given that they are subjected to many stealing and destruction operations from time to time. Indeed, many Iraqi monuments are spread all over the world and they are displayed in international museums. However, we do not have a large museum equipped with the latest protection systems to preserve them as do the other countries. We must also revive the archeological sites and take advantage of them.

  • فتحي

    2012-2-29

    If the situation became more stable in Iraq and the state worked on supporting the tourism sector, it would regain its normal status in Iraq. However, this is not so easy or quick, because we will need hard work and strenuous efforts in order to restore the confidence among the tourists to come to Iraq and achieve success in this sector, which will attract new investments, given the good incentives that can encourage tourists to come to Iraq. For example, Iraqi Kurdistan has achieved success in this regard, and tourism plays a key role there. Many tourists have visited this region from all countries of the world, because the government there takes care of tourism significantly, in addition to the security stability there. We wish that the same thing would happen in the rest of the Iraqi governorates.

  • نسيم علي

    2012-2-29

    The tourism sector in Iraq has been affected significantly by the circumstances in the country. Of course, this situation is not limited to Iraq, but would apply to any country that faces the same conditions as Iraq. Such circumstances can affect the tourism sector and lead to its deterioration and even collapse in any country, because this sector is contingent upon security. We all know that the security situation in Iraq has been unstable for years, and this has led to a total collapse in the tourist movement in Iraq. We all know that Iraq is one of the countries that possess good capabilities that encourage all forms of tourism, including the religious, ancient and recreational tourism. However, terrorism succeeded in destroying the tourism sector completely, in addition to the lack of official support for this sector. The tourism situation in Iraq suffers seriously, and were it not for the current situation in Iraq, tourism would have played a significant role in supporting the economy with hard currency. There are many countries that live on tourism and depend on it heavily, given its important role in supporting the economy and providing hard currency.

  • عبدالرزاق

    2012-2-28

    Frankly and without beating around the bush, how can one talk about tourism in a country that is plagued with corruption, killing, wars and all kinds of crimes—a country that has been ruined since the Iranian war and then the Gulf war? Don’t you know, or more precisely think, that one of the most important reasons behind the decline in tourism in the United States of America is the lack of security and the spread of gangs and mafia in this developed country? Can’t America follow an approach of a progressive or technological tourism or other ideas and ways this country has? This is a piece of advice for them, even though I think one of the most important reasons behind the tardiness of tourism in the United States of America is the lack of security. As for Iraq, can anyone dare to go to Iraq to see Iraq’s antiques and civilization, which has been destroyed and stolen? This country is full of criminals and movements, where a bunch of countries are working to achieve their political agendas. Can anyone dare to go to this devastated country for tourist tours? The least I can say about this tourism is that it is death tourism or tourism whose adventure consequences are unknown.

  • شعيب

    2012-2-28

    The Iraqi antiquities are Iraq's clear proof of the depth and advancement of the civilization of Mesopotamia, compared to the world's different civilizations. We all know that the civilization of Iraq is one of the civilizations that the world has stood for with admiration and reverence because of the connotations and the humanitarian elements that it has been able to embody and express in this culture. This is clearly from the cultural, intellectual, and legal heritage left by the ancient Iraqis. The world is still taking from its ideas and inventions to this day.

  • ابو نزار

    2012-2-28

    In order to improve archeological tourism in Iraq, the ministry of tourism can strike investment agreements with the European Union or Tourism investment companies to work on the improvement of neglected tourist facilities and establish other facilities and tourist activities in all different areas in Iraq. In doing so, the national economy will thrive, and therefore thousands of job opportunities will be created for different classes and manpower in all tourist and non-tourist sectors. This will result in financial resources for the state and the ministry of tourism and they will be able to build new, fortified and developed museums, and secure enough money to resume the stalled excavation missions and to start exploring neglected archeological sites.

  • حنين

    2012-2-28

    In Iraq, there are several archeological sites which are among the most ancient archeological sites in the world and date back to different ages and civilizations, such as the Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Persian, Turkmen, Greek, Romanian, Arab and others. Archaeological tourism is Iraq is in both a bad and good situation. On the one hand, nature and environmental and climatic changes contributed to the unearthing of many antiques and archeological sites never discovered before, as in Nineveh province when it was swept by floods and when soil erosion occurred and in Dohuk governorate when the waters of the Tigris River receded. On the other hand, a lot of antiques and archeological sites in Diwaniyah province haven’t been excavated and the rest of the sites are threatened with collapse and are likely to be looted, randomly exhumed and sabotaged, but the Board of Antiquities and Heritage of Iraq apologized for not taking any measures due to lack of financial allocation. Also, projects of turning these sites into tourist cities are still out of order; this underscores the neglect of history and tourism by the Iraqi government.

  • هارون

    2012-2-27

    Iraq is characterized by diversity in tourism activities, but what Iraq went through in the war and the siege led to the deterioration of the infrastructure of annexes to tourism in terms of hotels and tourist restaurants, transportation, in addition to the deteriorating security situation, the failure of authorities to provide the necessary protection, and the frequent explosions taking place in these sites, which resulted in the reluctance of many tourists in going to Iraq.

  • تحسين

    2012-2-27

    There are a lot of monuments, archaeological sites and shrines in Iraq, which represent the suspended and neglected wealth that are not used properly; in a way that helps to the prosperity and growth of tourism in Iraq due to the lack of solid and real strategic plans for this purpose, in addition to lack of awareness of the culture and tourism of the Iraqi people.

  • رائد مسلم

    2012-2-26

    We have monuments, yes, but we have no tourism industry. It has become necessary to be knowledgeable about all the arts and forms of this sector which many counted and described as the industry of the developed era. This development requires a scientific institution or more concerned with this industry as well as its development and keeping pace with its growth. Iraq is the country which has most of the elements of tourism, if not all, and Iraq has a Department of Tourism in the Faculty of Business and Economics wherein the graduates of this section are well qualified in the scientific level. They are familiar with tourism, hospitality, economic, administrative sciences, and French and English languages. They must be absorbed into the institutions and tourist facilities. These departments, official, and administrative bodies in the state have to take it upon themselves to take advantage of these graduates because they are tourist academics that have studied tourism in all details and how to handle all of these things because the tourism sector and its workers are something very important in supporting the economic movement. The government must resume the opening of the abandoned tourist sites and build the hotels more than the existing number. There should be luxurious and first class hotels in order to attract tourists and visitors, and give great interest in the archeological spots existing in all of Iraq north and south and immerse these graduate students, the possessors of competence to deal with tourists, and provide their comfort as well as all their necessities to ensure that their return each time to visit Iraq. This is called the tourism industry because it has distinguished heavy economic and media weight through balancing the budget of payments as a source of state funding.

  • سوسن

    2012-2-24

    We are all Iraqis, and as Iraqis, we want every physician, engineer, professor, scientist or even athlete to come back to Iraq, because through unity, we can eliminate terrorism. Terrorism and the terrorists are happy now, because they have got those talents out of Iraq, and they know that they cannot return. We ask them to return so as to destroy all those cowardly terrorists and to tell them that Iraq is the country of civilizations and that it cannot be defeated, whatever the matter requires. As for those capacities that live outside Iraq, I would like to tell them that I swear to God, you are serving others and your country Iraq needs you, and I swear to God that the Iraqis are faithful, but those intruders have scattered and divided us. But what can we say but that God is sufficient and he is the best guardian, and this is an invitation for the Iraqi government not to forget its people abroad, who have great abilities and privileges.

  • روز

    2012-2-21

    First, tourism needs further attention to be paid to the touristic sites, such as repairs and the development of tourism. Before that, we need security and stability for the foreign tourists. We need to have support services and seek the help of professionals and researchers. We need to look at the subject from an accurate scientific point of view before an economic one, because the economic issues ruin the site and make it lose its archeological value. It is well known that the tourist sites are not suitable for visiting for a number of reasons. I am working on my master’s degree about tourism and monuments. I have found great difficulty in working on a tourist site in Iraq, due to chaos, lack of security and work equipment on the site. It was difficult for evaluation; this is why I preferred to study a site in Jordan instead of the one in Iraq, because of the reasons mentioned, even though the civilization of Iraq is older than the one in Jordan. My sincere respect to you!