back to article Iraq launches tourism drive

Iraq is attempting what must rate as the biggest PR challenge since Nicolas Sarkozy ordered French media to convince the world he's actually six inches taller - that of enticing western tourists to sample the delights of the sun-kissed land astride the Tigris. This unenviable task has fallen to Hammoud al-Yaqoubi, chairman of …

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I'd do it!

Hey, if they wanna offer me a free holiday in return for some publicity, I'd love to go.

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FAIL

Politicans can claim a holiday to here on expenses anyday!

(title says it all!)

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Iraq for holidays ?

Not in this lifetime it won't be. Iraq will be a tourist destination when the worst a tourist can suffer will be inflated prices from local merchants.

Until then, Iraq is a place when you can be knifed, shot, kidnapped for ransom, blown to bits by various methods, and other such joyful pastimes. I like my tourism without such happenings, and without military escort either.

I also find the people going on these thrill rides to be extremely obnoxious, flaunting their wealth and ignorance in the face of an oppressed population. Doesn't strike me as decent to be a tourist in Iraq now.

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Coat

bad taste, but...

Come to Iraq - you'll be blown away by the local hospitality

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Good luck with that...

Our travel risk site (International SOS) still has Iraq listed as Extreme Risk due to kidnappings and threats from roadside bombs etc.

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Troll

Convincing security? It's obvious.

They just need a bunch of M$ evangelists, maybe the soon-to-be-retired Steve "security, who needs it?" Ballmer.

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Anonymous Coward

Love it...

I love to try and get places other people don't go, or have trouble...

Only thing that stops me going to Bosnia and the like these says are the other tourists... feh

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Coat

If he succeeds,

then there's a job waiting for him to run the Labour Party's election campaign next year.

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Re: Pascal Monet

Pascal Monet wrote:- "a place when you can be knifed, shot, kidnapped for ransom, blown to bits by various methods, and other such joyful pastimes."

Sound to me like a good description of another tourist hotspot.

Miami.

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Happy

@bad taste, but...

Never mind the keyboard, you very nearly owed me a new shirt, you git!!

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IT Angle

Iraq?

"Until then, Iraq is a place when you can be knifed, shot, kidnapped for ransom, blown to bits by various methods, and other such joyful pastimes. I like my tourism without such happenings, and without military escort either."

Sounds like London to me.

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Highly Recommended

I was in Iraq doing a banking system during the first gulf war (Iran vs Iraq) and the tourism was absolutely fabulous.

Babylon has been excessively done up by the late monster, but it's still pretty impressive -- fragments of brick and tile with cuneiform writing underfoot.

Warka/Uruk is left pretty much undisturbed since it was excavated by Germans before the 1st (world) war -- you approach it across plains ruined by salt, and the first glimpse is the huge piles of potsherd. It was inhabited six thousand years ago, Gilgamesh lived there, and I have never encounted such a sense of intimacy with the deep past. You'd need to check that the bridge had been repaired.

Ur was an army base when I was there, but if you drove past slowly and cautiously, you could peep at the ziggurat where, in theory, Abraham's father worshipped.

It might be wise to stay away from Shia holy sites generally for a while and the Najaf shrines were badly bombed by Sunnis so they won't be what they were, but there's a lot to see if you're interested in Islamic art.

Just south of Babylon you have astonishing alexandrene ruins called Ctesiphon. Out in the western desert there's the huge fortress called Ukkhadir (sp. sorry) which is a very mysterious place indeed and leaves you feeling that you'll never lose the taste of limestone on your lips. On the way back there was a modern resort on the banks of a reservoir -- I wonder if that's still there.

Baghdad itself was rather comprehensively done over by the huns in 14-something so there's little left of the caliphate but the museums (Baghdad and Iraqi national) are something else. I hope that Schliemann's (I think it was him) Babylonian treasures are intact.

I never got a chance to go north, but Nineveh and Mosul are apparently well worth a look.

Just saying the names ought to be enough: Nineveh and Uruk, Babylon and Ur. But if you want a reason for a techy to go, how about pointing out that these were the civilisations which invented the 60-second minute or the 60-minute degree (I didn't say you had to like them...) or (in cuneiform) non-pictographic writing?

OK -- if you want to lounge on a beach and pick up a bit of wossname from catford, it's not ideal, but to plant your feet a little more securely as a citizen of Earth it's probably essential. Beat the crowd.

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Obviously

all those American long-stay tourists aren't enough for them.

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The man's a genius!

He gets away from Iraq on a regular basis, thereby significantly extending his life expectancy, and no one will blame him when his work produces absolutely no results.

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If you want a holiday in Iraq

Go to Kurdistan. Direct flights from Vienna to Irbil, operated by Austrian. Quite safe.

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how much to actually see

... that has not been bombed to shit by;-

the brits

the yanks

the iraniums

the russians

the syrians

the sunnis

etc etc

If you want a sand pit in the desert then Dubai is just that.

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@umacf24

I wish, I wish. The middle east has so much. Would love to see Iran too. And central america. And china. And a million more places. So much world...

Winter in london sucks camels through needles.

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Just like a market day in ...

Didn't some politician say it was just like a market in small town America?

Obviously there are fewer Americans with guns there no McDonalds and you have less chance of being run over by a lunatic in an SUV - sounds ideal

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Coat

Congratulations to

Hammoud al-Yaqoubi, chairman of Iraq’s tourism board, and this year's winner of the Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf Optimism in the Face of Overwhelming Evidence to the Contarry Award.

(Mine's the one with the SAPI plates)

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Happy

it was OK

when i was there this spring, and a friend went with a group and loved it. Going around is a bit difficult I'll give you that, but if you go with an official agency you should be OK. And Iraqis do not practice price gouging in my experience, they are to proud to stoop to that (they might take a tip tastefully presented though).

I strongly recommend Iran too, their official travel agency is actually pretty good. Avoid unofficial taxis though, they WILL screw you over prices. Any official place doesn't do that (or they lose their jobs), anywhere else you're on your own.

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CC

Take a deep breath

Step off the airplane in Iraq and take a Deep Breath of their US...DU (Depleted Uranium) saturated air.

One thing for sure, if they don't kill you during your visit, the DU will get you years after as a reminderand should you decide to have children after being there, don't be shocked when they have three eyes and feet growing out of the head.

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Ideal destination for our MP's

I feel this would be an ideal opportunity for Labour to demonstrate how we should

"drink our own champagne".

The whole idea is a winner......

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I'll believe it...

...when Margaret Beckett takes her caravan to Basra and gets back in one piece.

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IT Angle

I'd..

Go in a flash as long as the M4 and ammo are included in the price, and they got a good arangement with an insurer. Not with the intent to use it, but just in case of course. I can't see the yanks wanting to play tour guide so it'd probably be necessary. No offence intended to the Iraqi's but they'd probably be the first to admit their security forces are probably crawling with the kind of people you wouldn't want in your *security* forces.

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Pirate

sderf

Are these people nuts

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Hammoud al-Yaqoubi

>chairman of Iraq’s tourism board, who described security as a "minor problem"

Whoever said the British are masters of understatement have just been proved wrong on a scale to great to be imagined.

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