Habbaniyah Renovations Bring Tourists Back
|September 16, 2013||Filled under Iraq Daily News|
Iraqi families flocked to Anbar’s Habbaniyah tourist city during the summer season, a development officials attributed to the on-going improvement of the city’s facilities.
Habbaniyah tourist city director Hameed al-Dulaimi told Mawtani the attraction has been popular with families following the completion of its most recent renovations.
“Turnout peaked during the Eid al-Fitr holiday as families came from around Iraq,” he said. “We had to add additional staff at the city’s entrance gate in order to speed up the booking process, and spare the families unnecessary delays.”
Habbaniyah‘s engineering and technical staff recently completed the rehabilitation of the city’s recreational and lodging facilities, which helped attract tourists to the resort, he said.
The relative stability in Anbar, coupled with the services offered by the city’s staff, have been responsible for the resort’s reclamation of its status as a tourist destination, al-Dulaimi said.
During the rehabilitation process, the Habbaniyah Lake beaches were improved and the amusement park was serviced, said Mohammad al-Alwani, the official in charge of the Habbaniyah booking department.
Three halls that can be used for special occasions and weddings were recently inaugurated, he said, in addition to a theatre where concerts, parties and cultural events can be held.
The city’s management has provided a number of river boats families can take on short excursions in the Habbaniyah Lake, which is monitored by the River Police to ensure security, he said.
“We also provided other water recreation such as peddle boats, which proved popular among youths and children,” al-Alwani said.
Improvement work is still under way at some of the city’s facilities, such as the main hotel, where renovation work is now 70% complete, Ragheed Kadhem of the Anbar provincial council’s reconstruction committee told Mawtani.
The Anbar provincial council’s future plans to upgrade the tourist city include building cafés, restaurants and sports facilities and constructing modern lodging by opening these up as investment ventures to Arab and foreign companies, Kadhem said.
IMPROVED SECURITY MEASURES
To ensure the safety of tourists, police detachments are stationed throughout the city, Capt. Ibrahim Khleifawi of the Habbaniyah police directorate told Mawtani.
They conduct patrols and work co-operatively with the traffic police and emergency services, he said.
Additionally, the main highways to Habbaniyah have been secured, he said, urging visitors to avoid using unsafe unpaved roads in an attempt to avoid traffic on main roads.
“We urge the citizens to be patient while cars are searched, out of concern for their own safety, and not to carry light arms or harmful objects, because they are totally forbidden,” Khleifawi said.
Wamidh Amer, 34, said he has “beautiful unforgettable memories” from his previous visits to the city.
“My wedding party was held here in Habbaniyah,” he added.
“The fact that Iraqi families across the spectrum are here is evidence of their defiance of terror, their determination to continue with their lives, and their wish to plant smiles on the faces of children,” Amer said.
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