Karbala’s local official on Friday called on developing tourist infrastructures in the holy Shiite city, citing an increase in numbers of Arab and foreign pilgrims.
The drastic decline in violence in the past year has led to increasing optimism among security U.S and Iraqi commanders, who have been wary of declaring success after past lulls proved short-lived.the lull is followed by increasing number of pilgrims to religious shrines.
“The city is looking forward to Mid-Shaaban(the anniversary of Imam al-Mahdi Birthday)visit and many Arab and foreign tourists are coming to the holy places,” Abdel al-Al al-Yasiri, the chief of Karbala’s provincial council, told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq(VOI).
He noted “we have to set a strategic plan to be implemented by the concerned offices, such as, board of tourism and urban planning along with investment committees”,
The local official pointed out “Karbala, unlike countries that are promoting their tourism with whopping propaganda, has holy shrines that grab tourists to its religious and historical places”.
Iraq has been a no-go zone for most civilian aircraft for almost two decades. First, there were U.N. sanctions after Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Then U.S.-led forces toppled the dictator in 2003, and violence engulfed the country.
Yet, now that armed attacks and sectarian bloodshed have ebbed over the past year, Iraq's government is beginning to promote tourism. It will be a tough sell — and even if officials can grab the attention of the adventuresome, Iraq's tourism facilities are shabby
The opening of a new airport last month in the southern city of Najaf is expected to help boost the number of religious pilgrims, mostly Iranians, visiting Shiite shrines to 1 million this year, double the number that came in 2007.
(Voices of Iraq)