A Syria Ministry of Tourism representative spoke to TTN about the country’s steadily expanding tourism industry.
How many visitors come to Syria?
The number of tourists visiting in 2007 was about 4,565,810 from both the Middle East and foreign countries. From the Middle East there were 3,600,413, most of who came from the Gulf countries.
Do you see numbers increasing?
Numbers of tourists in 2005 were 3,367,935; in 2006 there were 4,422,486 and in 2007 the number of tourists was 4,565,810. So, the numbers of tourists as you can see are obviously increasing.
How does the Ministry of Tourism go about promoting Syria?
The ministry of tourism promotes Syria as a unique destination through activities and promotional campaigns held along with exhibitions and advertisements in media, newspapers and billboards in metro and roads.
What are occupancy figures like particularly for hotels in the four to five star categories?
The percentage of occupied hotels in Syria is generally high; 66.7 per cent in 2007. Such percentage was the highest in Damascus at 78 per cent (96 per cent during July – the Arab season), while in Aleppo occupancy levels reached 76 per cent (87 per cent during April, which is the European Season).
What would you say are Syria’s unique selling points?
Syria is distinguished as a unique destination of high quality tourism product consisting of rich diversified tourism assets. It is a homeland that is full of first discoveries relating to human history including examples of inscriptions, the alphabet, lexicons, commercial correspondence, musical notes, glassware and agriculture. In addition are its rich archaeological sites, outstanding citadels and castles as well as the relics of Roman Era such as the amphitheatre of Bosra, the best preserved in the world.
The heritage of Syria is so rich that one trip is never enough.
But spectacular historical sites, such as Palmyra, a dream destination for all tourists, and the Crusader Castles, are just a backdrop to many other experiences.
How do travel agents sell Syria?
The travel agents sell Syria by preparing different packages for Arab and European countries. In addition, we have regular familiarisation trips organised for ME travel agents.
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
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