When we first pioneered tourism in Kurdistan our average guest was 70 years of age and had visited on average a hundred countries. Most were couples who spent a great deal of their time exploring the world and looking for new and exciting place to visit—Kurdistan was a perfect destination for people who had generally been there and done that.
But times are changing and our guest list is becoming more and more diverse as Kurdistan gains fame as the most inviting and exciting destination in the Middle East.
In October of 2013 we were happy receive our first tour from Austria. It consisted of 26 students and professors from the University of Vienna Department of Oriental Studies. They had an opportunity to visit not only the usual sites seen by most visitors but also a number of recently commenced Archeological digs being undertaken by a German team. There were a number of lectures along the way in German and the journey was termed a success. From Kurdistan the group traveled overland to Turkey via Ibrahim Khalil after paying a visit to this famous formerly Jewish city.
We are expecting more student groups in the hear ahead from both America and Europe and see this as an increasingly important and expanding part of our business.
A comment from Anne Telic the organizer of the tour from Vienna:
Thank you for your Email. Yes, everything has gone well. After our time in Iraq we travelled on to Turkey and arrived back in Vienna on Saturday evening. On the last day of our journey we did a feedback round and all of the students' remarks were positive.
About Iraq we heard that it was a unique opportunity to go there in the course of a study trip, because alone they wouldn't have done it. Any imagination of Iraq they might have had before the trip turned out to be different from reality. They liked the absolute friendliness and hospitality of the people and were surprised about the liberties one has in Iraqi Kurdistan (as compared to what is known about the rest of Iraq).
The highlight of the trip in Iraq was certainly Lalesh including the baptizing of one of our students (as you might have heard from Balin), closely followed by Alqush and the visit to the KRG Parliament. We got very useful and interesting insight in everyday life, recent history and current events from (our guide), which is information one can't get without speaking the language and knowing the country. Moreover, he was a patient interpreter during our visit at the Parliament.
I think that was about it in a nutshell.
In case any of you pass through Vienna, drop us a line!