Domestic tourists make up majority of visits

Over 3 million tourists visit Erbil in 2023

ERBIL, December 25 — Erbil saw a significant increase in tourist numbers this year, welcoming 3,082,096 tourists from January through November, according to Nariman Fazel, spokesperson for the Erbil General Directorate of Tourism.

This year’s numbers mark a notable increase from the 2.752 million tourists who visited the city last year.

The majority of visitors, accounting for 90 percent of arrivals, were from the southern and central regions of Iraq, showcasing the city’s appeal to domestic travelers. Meanwhile, the remaining 10 percent comprised of foreign tourists and residents from other governorates administered by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The diverse mix of visitors is understood to reflect Erbil’s growing status as a regional tourism destination.

Despite this positive trend, several restaurants and hotels in Erbil faced penalties for failing to comply with tourism guidelines. The nature of these penalties varied according to the type of violation committed.

Fazel emphasized that the tourism department would continue to monitor tourist areas through dedicated committees to ensure compliance with standards and enhance visitors’ experience.

The increase in tourist numbers has also boosted tourism revenue for Erbil. While exact figures are not collected due to the nature of tourist expenditures flowing directly into the market, the overall economic impact is palpable.

Many tourists have been arriving in their own vehicles and in groups, contributing to the city’s vibrant tourism sector.