Lorestan receives some 3,000 Iraqi tourists every day

January 25, 2023 - 21:0

TEHRAN – A daily average of 3,000 Iraqi tourists travel to the border of the western Iranian province of Lorestan, the Iranian consul general in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan has said.

An estimated 2,500 to 3,000 Iraqi tourists visit Lorestan for health, religious and cultural tourism, CHTN quoted Nasrollah Rashnudi as saying on Wednesday.

This volume represents a great potential for developing tourism and even strengthening local craft markets, the official added.

Last January, Mehr reported that some 1.47m foreign nationals visited Iran from the beginning of the last Iranian calendar year (March 21, 2021) to January 1, a span most of which was subject to severe travel bans due to coronavirus.

Of the number, 635, 862 foreign nationals arrived in Iran as of mid-October when the Islamic Republic started issuance of tourist visas after a 20-month hiatus, the report added.

Citizens from Iraq and Afghanistan were the main source of tourism for Iran from October 23 to December 22, 2021.

Over the past couple of years, neighboring Iraq has been one of Iran’s most important markets for tourism and pilgrimage. In January, the deputy tourism chief Ali-Asghar Shalbafian announced that Iran had renewed arrangements to facilitate travels for Iraqi nationals. “For Iraqi tourists visiting Iran, a new system has been implemented to ensure their safety and comfort.”

In 2021, the two neighbors agreed to abolish visa requirements for air travelers.

The announcement came after President Ebrahim Raisi and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi met in Tehran, discussing various issues including visa waiver, a joint railway project, and increasing the level of trade.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Iraqi constituted Iran’s largest source of tourists. In return, hundreds of thousands of Iranian pilgrims head for the holy Iraqi cities of Najaf and Karbala each year to attend the Arbaeen pilgrimage, aka the Arbaeen trek, to mark an end to the 40-day mourning period following the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Lorestan, which is a region of raw beauty, was inhabited by Iranian Indo-European peoples, including the Medes, c. 1000 BC. Cimmerians and Scythians intermittently ruled the region from about 700 to 625 BC. The Luristan Bronzes are noted for their eclectic array of Assyrian, Babylonian, and Iranian artistic motifs.

Lorestan was incorporated into the growing Achaemenid Empire in about 540 BC and successively was part of the Seleucid, Parthian, and Sassanid dynasties.



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