With no information on the length of the closure, which will impact flights in nearby Jordan, Turkey, and the UAE, airlines and airports can not respond to the delays exacerbating the closure's regional impact.
Iraq's stability is an essential part of a Middle East that works, and its optimism in the face of what would lead others to be decidedly un-optimistic is inspiring.
Iraq can limit its tourism efforts to relatively stable and safe areas of the country, but it will still have to work on the suboptimal infrastructure that exists nationwide.
Iraqi Kurdistan has been a peaceful region in spite of larger overall trouble, and is now going through a tourism boom.
When people speak of the health of the travel agent profession, they're speaking about agencies like this which produce a specialized product that even the best efforts of Priceline and Expedia couldn't match.
Money and security are enormous obstacles to surmount, but Iraq -- unlike the country that helped it throw off its dictator -- understands the value of rail in ensuring a stable society.
The regional/local tourist boom will help, though international tourism will still be some ways off, dependent on overcoming the image of being part of a troubled region.
The lifting of the 16-year ban sets off a domino effect as the return of U.S. airlines leads to a building boom by U.S. hoteliers and the eventual arrival of tourists – likely culminating in an improved Iraqi economy.