Arab and European tourist to Syria up 23 percent


Arab and European tourist influx grew up by 23 percent in July 2009 compared to the same month last year, according to official figures.

A total of 918,866 Arab and European tourists visited Syria in July 2009 against 745,936 in July 2008, up 172,752, official statistics by the Syrian Ministry of Tourism showed.
Apart from one-day visits from Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, Syria was visited by 594,124 tourists, including 227,505 from Arabian Gulf countries and 169,799 foreigners.
The increase in tourist influx mainly came in the number of visitors from Bahrain, accounting for 55 percent, followed by Saudi Arabia (47 percent), Kuwait (42 percent), Qatar (37 percent) and United Arab Emirates (21 percent), the statistics indicated.

The ministry hailed the hike in European tourist flow in July as a fresh development in European tourist activity away from the traditional European spring and autumn seasons.
A total of 2.1 million tourists visited Syria in the first seven months of this year, up 13 percent over the same period last year. Of this figure, Arabian Gulf tourists made up 477,826, they showed.

Overseas Syrians, who returned to Syria in the reporting period, spent 125.
3 million liras in tourist spending in the first seven months of 2009.