The tourism bureaucrats of Iraq are attempting to persuade Brits to holiday in Iraq, appealing for us to spend our British pounds in the heart of Western Asia.
The very idea most would dismiss as out of the question, due to the alarming quantity of textured headlines that scream out at us on a daily basis from our television sets and newspapers; underscoring the deep rooted dangers of the Muslim country.
However, Iraqi tourism officials are hopeful their travel industry has a booming future ahead, the majority of visitors anticipated to journey from the United Kingdom.
Fadhil Al-Saaegh, of Al-Rafidian Travel, says: “There have been few British tourists but I am always ambitious and I will keep trying to get them to come.”
Iraq plans to market a vacation in their country to ‘’adventurous British holiday-makers’’; potentially a delicate, albeit clever choice of wording or an accurate observation of who this type of holiday would essentially appeal to.
At London’s vastly popular annual ‘World Travel Market’, the promotion of Iraq was pitched to Brits in their masses by Fadhil Al-Saaegh, who was adamant Iraq had more than enough fascinating features to attract and persuade sceptical Brits. He was quoted: “They can visit Baghdad, plus we have mountains, waterfalls and great Islamic architecture. We have beautiful things to see everywhere.”
Despite the countries’ cavernous ugly connotations to war, violence and terrorism, it is actually a country which houses the standard elements one would expect a holiday to encompass. Cloudless sapphire skies hang over miles and miles of untouched beautiful golden dessert, riddled with architectural gems such as the National Museum of Iraq. The museum houses the world’s largest and finest collection of artifacts and relics of Ancient Iraqi civilizations.
In terms of scenery and culture, Iraq is actually a strong contender with its towering knots of mountains and frothy soaring waterfalls.
One of the most important factors when one goes on holiday, particularly for Brits, is what to eat? Tablets found in ancient ruins in Iraq show recipes prepared in the temples during religious festivals – the first cookbooks in the world. Today, the cuisine of Iraq reflects this rich inheritance as well as strong influences from the culinary traditions of neighboring Turkey, Iran and the Greater Syria area
Highlighting Iraq’s personalised holiday qualities, in an attempt to encourage Brits to realise they have more to offer as a nation, (other than material for journalists to write up), has proven to be slightly more problematic than originally thought.
It is not just the British public that needs persuading as the Foreign Office is currently completely against any holidays to Iraq unless absolutely necessary. A spokesperson for the Foreign Office currently warns against; “all but essential travel to the whole of Iraq, except to the Kurdistan Region”.
So, a holiday in Iraq perhaps isn’t the most tempting of propositions for most Brits at present. However, perhaps a few years down the line we may travel to this country, if only to admire the historic assets and natural backdrop whilst being baked in that diurnal glorious heat.
Article by Emma Boyle