A group of 10 Iraqi tour operators and travel agents along with their Iranian fellows are to commence a familiarization tour across the northern province of Golestan, the provincial tourism chief has announced.
The group will start a four-day familiarization tour on Tuesday with the aim of getting acquainted with the province’s tourism potential as a travel destination, Ahmad Tajari said on Monday, CHTN reported.
During the tour, there will be specialized meetings to exchange information and to build a stronger relationship between both sides, the official added.
Both sides will also visit tourism, cultural heritage, and handicraft sites to learn more about their capabilities in these areas, he noted.
The tour will also highlight the province’s strengths, including its natural, cultural, historical, handcrafts, agricultural tourism, and other assets, he mentioned.
The Golestan province, with its ethnic diversity, various climate and potential in handicrafts and cultural heritage, has a very high potential for foreign tourism, and Iraq is one of its important target countries, the official explained.
Last week, several Iraqi travel insiders and tour operators requested Iran to waive visa requirements for Iraqi nationals who want to enter the Islamic Republic via land borders.
Earlier this year the two neighbors agreed to abolish visa requirements for air travelers.
The announcement came after Iranian President Seyyed 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).
Golestan is reportedly embracing some 2,500 historical and natural sites, with UNESCO-registered Gonbad-e Qabus – a one-millennium-old brick tower – amongst its most famous. Narratives say the tower has influenced various subsequent designers of tomb towers and other cylindrical commemorative structures both in the region and beyond. The UNESCO comments that the tower bears testimony to the cultural exchange between Central Asian nomads and the ancient civilization of Iran.