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Syria in a Glance

Syria the new destination for tourism investment Home Page

النسخة العربية

2nd Tourism Investment Market Forum
April 2006

Syria; the new Destination for Tourism Investment

Syria is considered a large museum which contains ancient monuments for more than 20 different civilizations containing as a whole and lining the history of the Civilization, achieving rare diversity amongst the international levels and through many aspects, such as agriculture which was discovered for the first time in history on its lands, alloys invented, the pottery industry, as well as the first writing, the first alphabet ever, the first library and the first written musical note in the old periods.

It also preserved for all human kind the two most ancient inhabited cities all over the times, Damascus and Aleppo (which have been chosen this year to be the Capital of the Islamic Culture ) summarizing the whole history in one country, that is once visited as if you visited the whole world.

The Nature in Syria is distinctly diversified. It contains seashores, mountains, forests, dessert, rivers, caves, lakes both natural and artificial, and many summer resorts. All this along with the diversity in the antiques, the ancient cities with its markets, khans and old domiciles, the handicrafts and the traditional industries contribute to formulate a unique attracting compound tourism product.

The visit would also include the different forms of historical life, view marvelous sorts of traditional arts and practicing attracting tourist activities. Moreover, Syria enjoys an ambience of security and stability that prevails for its citizens and visitors alike that is rarely found in today’s world.

Since 2002, the Government has adopted tourism as a strategic industry in Syria and to be one of the pillars at the national economy. Moreover it is a tool for the dialogue amongst nations and civilizations, effectively attributes in highlighting the civilized image of Syria, contributes to the social development for the communities nearby the historical and tourism locations, and able to help preserve the cultural, artistic and historical heritage of Syria.

Accordingly, the tourism sector has been restructured. New directorates in charge of the different elements of the tourism product were established within the Ministry as well as the establishment of the Tourism Chambers with the private sector.

Even more, a new comprehensive promotional plan was launched that led to a noticeable increase in the numbers of tourists reaching 15% per year, with 3.4 Millions accommodated tourists in 2005 (1.4 millions at hotels, and 2 millions in other forms of accommodations such as furnished apartments) which recall to enhance the efforts toward the realization of huge investments as to maintain a balance between the average of the growing investments, and the increase in the tourists numbers. The percentage of the investments increase reached 8%, against 2% in the nineties, and the number of classified beds at the Ministry of Tourism were 43000 beds in 2005, which reflects the necessity of achieving bigger increases to fulfill the requirements of the increasing tourists numbers.

At that point the Ministry started to study the potentials in Syria, prefacing to create an adequate and proper atmosphere for investment through the improvement of the existing laws, to issue the new needed ones which shall comply with the accelerated changes on the economic international level and to achieve the attracting investment atmosphere combined with transparency reflecting the sense of safety and security for the local, Arab and international Investors.

Besides, the Investment in Syria is based on several components such as: political and economic stability, the feasibility and the integrated infra structures since Syria provides a net of highways, railways covering all the areas in the Country beside 5 Airports (3 are international) and an Airline company and the telecommunication and water and electricity network services, as well as the mobile phone service all over the Country, in addition to the stabilized external markets, and the highly experienced with low cost manpower.

Syria has its fixed tourism markets that are not affected by the international changes (interior and emigrants tourism) with a 6 million Syrian Emigrants, beside Arabic visitors forming 74% of the Syrian Tourism, and other promising markets, in addition to the European Countries and China, where a memorandum has been signed among Syria, Turkey and Egypt for joint promotion with mutual tourism programs for China and overseas.

Special attention has been oriented to training and habilitation through 16 schools and private hotel training centers.

Syria does not require an entrance visa for the Arab tourists while foreign visitor can obtain a free entrance visa through the different ports of entry when coming through a travel agency from his country, in addition to the application of the international credit Card.

Consequently, the road to the ownership of tourism projects lands are now open for the Arab and international Investors, beside that the Tourism projects has become free from all the Taxes and fees during the construction period, and the permission for importing all the constructing materials, equipments and the working cars and other fixtures has being granted, as well as tax allowance of the tourism projects from taxes and fees for a period of seven years commencing from the operating date.

After that it shall be 50 % of those fees stating from the 8th year, and allowing the transfer of funds for the foreign investors abroad in the hard currency after five years from the investment commencement, and to permit the transfer of the yields and profits of the exterior capital in the hard currency, also to achieve the concept of the "one window" into the Ministry of Tourism for all the tourism investment projects, as to facilitate the procedures of tourism licensing, and to permit the direct operations with the investors desiring to invest into the developed tourism areas, and the historical buildings, and to implement special terms provisions, in order to encourage the process of investment in these areas, and the cancellation of the rules which were restricting the hard currency flow and funds movement, and to simplify the procedures on granting the loans, as well as rebating interests on the tourism loans, and starting the operations of private banks.

The First Tourism investment Market Forum was held in April 2005 with 1200 Syrian, Arabs and International participants, which was the starting point for the tourism investment. Tens of regulations have been issued before the launching of the that Forum which paved the way to establish a new investment environment such as: permitting the commercial sectors at the tourism compounds to import merchandise, and financing the imported goods ,and making new law for the workers in the Tourism institutions , according to principle stating: " the law is the code of the contracting parties".

New formulas for the Tourism investment been implemented for the exhibited projects in the tourism investment market, such as the investing system according to the "BOT" formula for 49 years, which gives the investor the right to alienate to the others, after the completion of the project, and the Investment system according to the usufruct to the plot, with giving the investor the right to alienate the usufruct and the instructed tourism structures by him to others after the completion of the Project.


The outcome of the first
Tourism Investment Market Forum

The proceedings of the tourism projects resulted from the First Tourism Investment Market Forum held in April /2005 reached to more than half a billion USD (which equals almost SP. 27 Billions). These projects were tendered in accordance with books of specifications concerning investment, and on the feasibility studies, and plans made through mutual coordination with foreign experts.

The total of these projects were 13, allocated in 8 governorates as follows:
Damascus- Damascus Countryside - Aleppo- Lattakia- Tartous – AL Raqa – Darra and AL Hasaka.
The following table shows the allocation of these projects and its investment value and the investing body:

Project Name

Governorate

Investing Body

The Administrating CO.

The Investment in USD.

remarks

Kiwan

Damascus

Mohammed Abdul Muhsin AL Khurrafi from Kuwait

Intercontinental

USD.217 Millions

With 900 beds.

Tariq Bin Ziyad barracks

Aleppo

Kahhala Group, and Co. of Syrian ,Kuwaiti and Saudi Investors

Intercontinental

and Holiday inn

USD. 137 Millions

With 900 hostelry beds.

Eastern Meridian Project

Lattakia

Olympic Tour from Russia

KAF OTECILIK from Turkey

USD. 80

Millions

 

Kafer Sousa switchboards Project

Damascus

AL Shariq Group

 

USD.25 millions

With 500 beds

J udaide Al Wadi Motels Project

Damascus Countryside

Groups Hamshu International – AL Shariq

 

USD.17,4 millions

With 350 beds

The engineers Syndicate

Land Project

Aleppo

French Acore Co. "Administration Company"

 

USD.14 millions

With 240 beds

The Agronomists retirement hotel project

Tartous

Group Of Syrian Emigrants in Venezuela

 

USD.7,5 millions

With 200 beds

AL Hayatt

Hotel Project

Damascus

Group Nesco.

From K.S.A

 

USD.4 millions

With 200 beds

International Damascus Airport Hotel Project

Damascus Countryside

Dr. Mohammed Redhwan Al Massri Co.

 

USD2,4 millions

With 140 beds

Derra Hotel Project

Derra

Sarah Investment Group

 

USD.2 millions

With 80 beds (3 stars)

Al Raqa Hotel Project

AL Raqa

Owned by: Mr. Faisal AL Ibrahim

 

USD. 0,7 millions

With 87 beds (3 stars)

The Area of Restaurants and cafeterias in the southern coast road Project

Lattakia

Owned by: Mr. Nicola Jaghnoun

 

USD. 0,6 millions

 

AL Qamishli Hotel Project

AL Hasaka

Reem Economic

 

SP. 900 millions

 

Accordingly, the new investments which will start to construct at the private sector, during three years as a result of the Investment Forum, raised from SP. 6 Billions (Private sector) in 2003 to SP. 16 Billion in 2004(6 at the private Sector and 10 at the joint sector) to SP. 38 Billions in 2005 (11 Billions at the private sector and 27 Billions at the Projects of the Investment Forum) without considering the new investments which were prepared according to the current situation, then the investments in the tourism sector in 2005 shall be more than USD. 1 Billion.

This fact shows that the development of the investments is balancing with the growth in the number of tourists.

2nd Tourism Investment Market Forum

It will be held on its annual period on 26-29 of April, where different projects shall be submitted from all the Syrian governorates, some of these projects presented for the intention of making contracts, and others for promotional purposes to be presented later along with the requirements of investment activation specially in the line of preparing and advertising the required marketing plans, and to present the amendments on the investment conditions in the developed areas.

Knowing that the locations to be presented at the second forum shall attribute widely to reconstruct the structure of the investments, and shall achieve the balanced development in a clearer manner, for instance in Aleppo there will be a project for the Eco tourism, in Panyas a project for the internal tourism, and in Lattakia there will be a location for the Mountain Tourism, and in each Aleppo and Hamah and Bosra there shall be locations for historical Tourism, and opposite to Tartous city there will be investments in the Syrian flooded Isles, and in Bludan there shall be a project for Winter Tourism. In Tartous, an investment project for caves tourism, also in Der AL zour a project for river Tourism, also in Edlib and Darra, there are locations for Health Tourism, and in Aleppo Country there are locations for integrated tourism on the lakes, in Lattakia locations for integrated tourism on the sea shore, and in Each Lattakia and the Damascus Countryside there are investment for the tourism training, beside audio/video shows in five major ancient monuments sites, the required marketing plans is being prepared to be presented before the Investment Market.

Eco Tourism- Aleppo county side

Investment in local Tourism – Panyas

Mountain Tourism - Lattakia

constructions in the Syrian Flooded Icelands- Tartous

Winter Tourism – Bludan

Caves Tourism – Tartous

River Tourism – Der ALzour

Borders crossing points, Bab AL hawa.

Health Tourism- Edlib and Derra

Historical Tourism – Aleppo – Hammah - Bossra

Tourism Training- Lattakia – Damascus Countryside

Audio and video shows in five major ancient sites

Comprehensive Tourism Areas on Lakes – Aleppo

comprehensive Tourism on the sea shore – Lattakia

The priorities of the Executive Programs of the Ministry agenda in the 2006-2007 have been identified and were connected to a limited time frame to insure its perfect fulfillment either in the Tourism Quality programs such as: "The Religious Tourism Visit Locations, and the border cross points programs, or the promotional programs addressed for the new Tourism markets like China, and the second and third Generation emigrants societies, or the integrated projects concerning Palmyra, containing a plan for administrating of the historical location, and Palmyra in general, and the added values, the Audio and video shows , and the investment locations in accommodation and habilitation and training, as well as the programs concerning the Syrian Flooded Icelands opposite to Tartous and the investment development in Bassa and Sanawbar on Lattakia seashore. And the river tourism resorts in The Governorates of Aleppo and Al Raqa and Der Al zour, and the Syrian castles product that is cross-governorates.

2006 shall be the year of expansion of the tourism activity, and tourism investments, and the expenditure to include all the Syrian Governorates, along with the reshaping the Markets baskets to go in compliance with that goal beside the elevation of the standards and the quality of the services provided.

Knowing that results of the First Tourism Investment Market Forum has participated in directing some of the projects into Areas of development , beside the Private sector tourism projects, in addition to that, marketing and promoting shall concentrate and aim into the new markets attracting tourists, with highly expenditure simultaneously, with prompting for the European tourists which shall achieve the balanced development in the tourist activity.

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