Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice says the area controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government is one of the safer places to visit in Iraq.

While the Kurdish controlled area is not covered by such stringent warnings as other parts of the country, the FCO maintains there is still a “serious threat from terrorist groups in the region”.

It adds: “You are strongly advised to seek professional security advice and make arrangements for your security throughout your visit.”

However, the FCO also warns there is no guarantee of safety for any visitors.

It adds: “Those kidnapped include individuals who had security arrangements in place and some of those kidnapped have been killed.”

Aside from terrorists and kidnappings, the FCO adds visitors to the country should avoid crowds in public places, remain alert to indiscriminate attacks on civilians and even be aware of the dangers of bird flu.

Currently the FCO advises against all travel to Baghdad and the surrounding area, the provinces of Basra, Maysan, Al Anbar, Salah Ad Din, Diyala, Wasit, Babil, Ninawa and At-Tamim and all but essential travel to the provinces of Al Qadisiyah, Muthanna, Najaf, Karbala, and Dhi Qar.