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Episode 31 Iraq from Andrew MacLeod on Vimeo.

Ever been to a country and thought “I wonder what it was like before all the tourists came?” Well now, thanks to the new Kangaroo route via Dubai, you can. Just a short flight of just over two hours, and with a visa on arrival, one can land in one of the oldest continually inhabited cities on earth: Erbil, Iraq.

And now I know you are thinking ‘Iraq! Are you mad?’

But read on.

By Andrew Mcleod

Iraq fills our TV screens with violence and mayhem. Hence you would never dream of going there on a holiday. What of the security? Good question.

Asking about security in Iraq is like asking ‘what is the weather like in Australia?’ There is a wildly different depending where in Australia you are. While many parts of Iraq are off limits to the non-military travel, Kurdistan is a region of safety, tranquillity and enormous interest.

Since gaining autonomy nearly a decade ago, Kurdistan now has its own police force, army and passport controls. Kurdistan is a region steeped in history of early civilisation, Crusader’s castles, sites of Alexander the Great’s defeat of the Persians, wonderful nature, friendly people, economic growth and around a decade of peace and security.

Iraqi Kurdistan is a part of Iraq you can – and maybe should – visit. For those who did not support the US led war, perhaps a quick tourism visit to a safe region is a better contribution to the country, its people and its economy than tax payers’ dollars than complaining about George Bush’s war?