4/22/2013 01:33:00 PM

Could Iraq Become an Eco-Tourism Destination?

Photo by Salim Virji via Flickr
Once known as the Cradle of Civilization, the marshlands of southern Iraq were drained by Saddam Hussein in 1991 as punishment for inhabitants who opposed him. But the eco-system and its wildlife have begun to rebound, according to the Telegraph. Conservationist Azzam Alwash of Nature Iraq hopes the return of water buffalo, pygmy cormorants, otters and colorful bird species as well as the culture of its water-dwelling inhabitants will bring tourists to the area. The engineer fled the country under Hussein's rule but returned in 2008 to spearhead the restoration of the marshes, efforts that won him the Goldman Prize (aka the Oscars of environmental work). Hinterland Travel currently offers day trips to the region, but Alwash eventually forsees floating eco-hotels and tours with local Marsh Arabs provided the country's security situation improves. What do you think? Would you visit the region now?

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