Following a trip to Erbil to research holiday package opportunities, IKB Travel owner Saad al-Khafaji has been appointed the Kurdistan Regional Government’s UK tourism representative.

During the four-day fam trip, he had two meetings with the state’s minister for tourism Namrud Bito that led to theofficial appointment.

However, he said he will be unable to do much active promotion in the UK as the Kurdistan authority is desperately short of cash, although he will be able to advise operators and agents wanting to know more about the region.

He said: “The minister is looking to see more UK visitors and package holidays although the facilities do need some work. In the 1970s the area used to be a resort for the people of the Middle East who were particularly attracted to the mountains and we hope to rebuild its tourism market.”