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Syrian Tourism Generates $8.3 Billion in 2010

Minister: Syrian tourism up 40 percent

Jan 23, 2011

According to Syria's Tourism Minister Saadallah Agha al- Qalaa, the number of visitors to Syria increased 40 percent in 2010, generating $8.3 billian in tourism revenue.

Syria's tourism revenue climbed 60 percent, benefiting from cultural and archaeological attractions, he said in a news conference at the Tourism Ministry today. Syria attracted 8.5 million holiday makers, up from 6.09 million the previous year, he said.

Bloomberg reports that Syria is encouraging private industry and foreign investment in its state-dominated economy to provide long-term financing for development and economic reforms amid dwindling oil revenue. The government wants to attract as much as $55 billion in foreign direct investment over the next five years, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Abdallah Dardari said Sept. 24.

Some 287 new touristic projects, including 57 hotels and 230 restaurants, worth a total of $401 million opened last year, Agha al-Qalaa said. Another 85 hotels will open this year, he said. Foreign direct investments in Syria reached $2.5 billion in 2010, exceeding expectations, Dardari said Jan. 12.

According to Bloomberg, the country received 4.6 million Arabs, 1.5 million Syrians living abroad and another 2.3 million people from other countries, he said. Tourism investments increased 9 percent in 2010, Agha al-Qalaa said.

Syria’s economy will grow at an average of 5.5 percent to 6 percent over the next five years, according to Dardari. The International Monetary Fund has urged Syria to accelerate its transition to a more open, market-based economy and reduce its dependence on oil.

Minister: Syrian tourism up 40 percent
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