Dr. Douglas Layton's blog

Editor’s Note: This past December ATTA President, Mr. Shannon Stowell, interviewed Douglas Layton, cofounder of Kurdistan Iraq Tours LLC about adventure travel in Kurdistan and his own experience in the region. “As Douglas said, “We all know the media likes a scary story and violence sells. The problem is, Kurdistan is not in the middle of a violent war and there is nothing scary about the region.” Stowell, who visited Kurdistan in April of 2009 often remarks on how incredibly friendly the people of the region were to him during his visit.

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"Each year the Adventure Travel Trade Association seeks motivated tour operators who show a demonstrated potential for positive impact on local cultural, ecological or historical resources for the Tour Operator Scholarship program. This year the ATTA teamed up with Visit Greenland to offer three scholarships to early-stage adventure tour operators to attend the 2016 Adventure Travel World Summit (#ATWS2016) in Anchorage, Alaska, and gain access to the ATTA’s global network of over 1,000 members, membership resources and benefits.

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"Until the beginning of 2014, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) fledgling tourism industry was growing at an impressive pace. Domestic and international investment was on the rise, and the region’s capital, Erbil, was celebrating its status as the 2014 Capital of Arab Tourism.

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Harvard University has compiled a listing of all current archaeological projects in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq here.

A pdf  version can be downloaded here.

See also Erbil Plain Archaeological Survey.

 

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The public has recently been deluged with media reports regarding activities of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in various parts of Iraq outside of the Kurdistan Region.  The latest events involving (ISIS) of course causes concern for those considering a trip to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). As we are physically in Iraq, and one of our owners is a security expert, we thought you might like to know what the situation is really like in Kurdistan.

 

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  • AH Layard's  'Nineveh and its Remains' (1849)
    pdf download
  • Isabella Bird's  'Journeys in Persia and Kurdistan' (1891, 2012)
  • EB Soane's  'To Mesopotamia and Kurdistan in Disguise'  (1912, 2009)
  • WA and Edgar TA Wigram's  'The Cradle of Mankind: Life in Eastern Kurdistan' (1914, 2013)
  • Rupert Hay's  'Two Years in Kurdistan' (1921, 2008)
  • AM Hamilton's  'Road Through Kurdistan' (1937, 2005)
  • CJ Edmonds'  'Kurds Turks and Arabs' (1957)

The film tells the story of a family of nomadic shepherds destroyed by their contact with modern civilization as they transport a flock of sheep by train to Ankara. The central figure in the film is the son who tries to heal the rifts caused by family vendettas and to adapt to modern society. Eventually he is destroyed - driven to inarticulate revolt and then promptly beaten and arrested - just as the old patriarch is swallowed up in the anonymity of sprawling present day Ankara.

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. 

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