Herat welcomes increase in foreign tourists to province

HERAT (Agencies): Herat residents have welcomed the increase in foreign tourists visiting their province over the past few months and say that the improved security situation has led to an increase in visitors. Recently a group of 11 tourists from Thailand visited historical sites in the province and were able to experience Afghan culture and local cuisine. This group was just one of many as residents report they have had many foreigners from across the world visit their city and province. But one Thai visitor expressed delight at being able to visit the country. “Actually, I like to see people and visit historical places, especially Bamiyan Buddha. I really like the people here. Afghanistan is a very beautiful country and has good people,” he said. “I came from Bangkok, Thailand, and we have been in Afghanistan for fourteen days, and this is the first time I have come here. I am very happy to be here, and these people are really beautiful,” another Thai visitor said. The Department of Information and Culture of Herat says that the number of foreign tourists visiting the province continues to increase. “So far we have had 300 foreign tourists who have come here from 30 different countries, and they are mostly interested in visiting Akhtaruddin Fort, Herat Mosque, Grand Mosque, and the minarets of Herat; fortunately, the necessary facilities are available and security measures have been taken by the relevant organizations,” said Rahmatullah Mohammadi, the head of tourism of Herat’s Department of Information and Culture. Afghanistan, which is steeped in history, is fast becoming a destination of choice for foreign tourists, who are specifically interested in historical sites, many of which date back hundreds of years. Seyyed Ruhollah Bahunar, a guide for foreign tourists, says that: “Most of our history, the different culture of our people, local foods, they attract the attention of foreign tourists, especially Band-e-Amir in Bamiyan, which is one of the most visited areas for foreigners, and the majority of tourists visit this lake.” Officials say that they have seen a marked increase in foreign tourists visiting Herat in the past six months.