Fifty thousand tourists have come to Erbil to ring in the New Year, according to police.
“They have come through checkpoints and airports, and the police have taken necessary measures to welcome them,” Abdul-Khaliq Talaat, head of Erbil Police, told Rudaw on Sunday.
The visitors come from southern and central Iraq, as well as neighbouring countries.
Talaat said the city has prepared a special programme for the Iraqi tourists, throwing two separate parties in Erbil to celebrate the occasion.
Erbil is decorated for the party with lights and Christmas trees across the city.
Every year, many Iraqi tourists – typically Christians – visit the Kurdistan Region to celebrate Christmas and the New Year in a way they cannot in their home towns and cities because of security concerns.
The Kurdistan Region is a popular tourist draw year round, attracting visitors to its cooler mountains in summer, snow in winter, and secure environment.