Emaar Properties and Kurdish Farouq Holding are currently negotiating with the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq (KRG) to start the development of Dukan tourist city in Sulaimaniya governorate within 6 months, an official source told Zawya.
"The KRG has approved the project, which is expected to take five years to complete at a cost of USD 3 billion. It is considered one of the largest tourist projects witnessed in the area, and is part of a master plan devised by the tourism authority for Dukan," said Farman Gharib Saeed, director general of the investment authority in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
Saeed added that the project would cover an area of 2,400,000 square meters and is expected to comprise of a comprehensive tourist city; complete with hotels, restaurants and a theme park. The execution of the project is expected to commence within the coming six months.
The self-ruled region of Kurdistan has been witnessing a surge in the number of tourists visiting the area, according to official statistics published by the region's tourism authority. "We expect the total number of visitors to top 2.5 million by the year 2014," said Mawlawi Jabar, the head of the tourism committee, Kurdistan Regional Government.
"There are some 60 new touristic projects currently under construction in the region, which are all expected to be completed by 2014. These are being executed by 200 local and foreign contractors, with Lebanese and Austrian companies being assigned the handling of project designs," added Jabar.
"Tourism constitutes an "infinite oil"; in the sense that developing the tourism sector contributes to economic growth and to availing foreign currency. It further constitutes a reliable source of national income and those working in the sector," said Dr. Salahuddin Kaku, economist and president, of SABIS University in Erbil – Iraq.