Zakho deserves a lot more then it has, I can just see those shiny skyscrapers on the riverside...
Only in the last 10 months have more than 75 thousand foreign and Iraqi tourists visited the ancient but small city of Zakho here in the federal region of Kurdistan in the north of Iraq, said Ramazan Ismaeel, Director of Tourism in the town.
Ismaeel added that Zakho’s income in tourism, which is largely owned by private sector companies rather than the government, was as much as US$ 4 million this year, making the town the first tourist town of its kind in Iraq.
“Most of the tourists were from the center and south of Iraq. Some of them were also from outside Iraq,” said Ismaeel.
In addition to its historical site of the town, the security situation that exists here in Kurdistan has played a remarkable role in progressing tourism in the region.
While the rest of Iraq has largely been plagued by day-to-day violence since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Kurdistan remained a safe haven, business friendly region where no foreigner has been kidnapped or killed since the overthrow of the former regime of Saddam Hussein.
The landmarks of Zakho, populated by an estimated 600,000 inhabitants, are its mix of people- Jews, Assyrians, Kurds and Arabs- the Delal Bridge, two other castles and Khabwr river, which comes from Turkey and goes through the city.
“We expect that we will need to build more hotels and motels in our town as the number of tourists continue to grow,” said Ismaeel.