Ambassador Dr. Adel Mustafa presents his Credentials as the Representative of Iraq to the World Tourism Organization
Dr. Adel Mustafa, Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to the Kingdom of Spain presented his credentials as permanent representative to the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili.
After words of welcome and congratulations, Mr. Mustafa extended an invitation to Mr. Pololikashvili to visit Iraq to establish field cooperation as an essential step in the advancement of tourism sector, especially since Iraq has a vibrant history and civilization that is considered one of the earliest civilizations in the world and has hundreds of archaeological sites, in addition to the marshes that have been included in the list of human heritage, as well as the religious tourism to the holy shrines and tourism in the Kurdistan region, noting that it has about 1700 hotels and tourist resorts.
In return, Mr. Pololikashvili expressed his keenness to visit Iraq, with proposed projects and ideas that need to be arranged and prepared prior to the visit.
Then Mr. Mustafa explained the importance of religious tourism in Iraq and the need to invest in it in a way that makes it one of the sources of funding, as Iraq has many shrines of the prophets and imams, peace be upon them, and the possibility of benefiting from the organization’s expertise to promote religious tourism, he also explained that the Kurdistan region has tourism potentials including waterfalls, mountains, green spaces and natural beauty known to the world.
Both Mr. Mustafa and Mr. Pololikashvili talked about the historic visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Iraq. Mr. Mustafa pointed out that this visit has a positive impact and has a human dimension to it and represents a message of peace and love for the world, and it will have many great results, including that this site in Iraq will be a destination for Christian pilgrims seeking blessings after the Pope’s visit, and thus there will be a greater role for the organization in the issues of promoting and organizing travels to that region.
Mr. Mustafa indicated that the marshes in Iraq represent an important station in tourism in southern Iraq that are the cradle of the Sumerian civilization, when in 2016 UNESCO agreed to include the marshes in the World Heritage list as an international nature reserve amongst other cities. Mr. Pololikashvili expressed his interest and indicated that there is a new project for the development of rural tourism, which includes support for (1000) rural sites located outside cities and capitals. The project targets countries that are members of the Middle East Committee, which includes 13 countries, of which Iraq is the deputy chairperson, and the organization will promote these sites by placing them on the list of favorite places to visit.