This month, the government inaugurated a five-star hotel in Damascus and laid the foundation stones for three other projects in the capital and the coast, as it seeks to attract investment in a foreign currency-generating industry.
Two international tour agencies have recently restarted operations in Syria after the government resumed authorising tourist visas for foreign travellers earlier this month. A company from the UK and another from Germany have advertised tours to Syria for later this year and into next year.
Profits of Syria’s state-owned hotels have increased during the first half of this year due to the depreciation of the national currency. The government has continued to develop its domestic tourism as it searches for ways to replenish its depleted state coffers with foreign currency and to encourage investment.

The Katerji Group has signed a contract with the Syrian government to turn the site of Aleppo’s old military hospital into a tourist complex, highlighting the expansion of the sanctioned Katerji brothers -- Hussam and Baraa --  into the tourism sector.


The Ministry of Interior issued around 182,000 passports in the first eight months of this year, of which 41,898 were for Syrians living abroad, according to a government official. Passports continue to represent a rare source of foreign currency for the government.


The government has signed two contracts for large investments in the tourism sector reminiscent of similar projects from the pre-2011 era. However, the significant deterioration of the business environment since that time raises doubts about their feasibility.


Cham Palaces and Hotels, Syria’s largest five-star hotel chain, said its revenues increased last year, thanks largely to a rising number of foreign tourists.