Iraqi Kurdistan is an autonomous region of Iraq consisting of three provinces: Duhok, Erbil, and Sulaymaniyah. The security situation – especially for foreigners – is much better in this region compared to the rest of the country. Basic caution should still be taken, but it is generally safe for foreigners to walk the streets throughout Kurdistan.
The Kurdistan Board of Investment is the provincial investment commission for the entire region.
Known as a mountain resort destination, Duhok (alternate spellings: Dahok, Dehok, Dohuk) is the northernmost province of Iraq. Ancient archaeological sites and beautiful views during all of its four distinct seasons have made Duhok’s tourism sector one of the country’s strongest.
Duhok is the conduit for trade with Turkey, through the border city of Zakho. The eponymous capital of Duhok has the potential to become a center for cross-border commerce. Currently, the largest portion of the workforce in Duhok is engaged in agriculture and beekeping. Iraq-Turkey trade, already an important part of the provincial economy, is expected to grow as the security situation of the rest of the country improves and trade increases. The Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture is working on diversifying and improving their sector in Duhok, so gains are expected in the productivity of the region’s peach, apple, and olive orchards.
The Duhok International Airport began construction in 2012, and is due to be completed in 2015.
Important Duhok Links:
Also spelled as Arbil and Irbil (Hawler in Kurdish), Erbil is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. Rolling plains grow into hills and picturesque mountains in the north, making the province a fertile area for agriculture and tourism.
The city of Erbil is the capital of the governorate and of the Iraqi Kurdistan autonomous region. It is home to the 4000-year-old Hawler Citadel, one of the contenders for ‘world’s oldest continuously-inhabited city.’ Tourism and finance are important parts of the economy in the city, with agriculture and livestock engaging the majority of the rural workforce. The Kurdistan Investment Commission is very active in its efforts to attract industry to the region.
Important Erbil Links:
Erbil International Airport (IATA code EIA)
A cultural center of Kurdistan, mountainous Sulaymaniyah is known for its distinct language, music, poets, and relative prosperity. It shares a border with Iran to the east. The capital, also named Sulaymaniyah, is a growing tourist destination.
Previously, the province was a major source of wheat in Iraq. Agriculture is still the largest sector in the province, but the building material industry is growing. Transportation is limited to road and air, as the rail network of Iraq does not extend into Sulaymaniyah.
Sulaymaniyah International Airport (IATA code ISU)