Russian investors to build holiday resorts on Syrian coast

Syria’s tourism minister announced two resorts will be built on the Syrian coast [Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP via Getty Images]

The Syrian regime’s tourism minister has announced that Russian investors will soon begin work on two tourist resorts on the Syrian coast, The New Arab’s affiliate Syria TV reported citing the RIA Novosti Russian state-owned news agency.

The minister, Mohammed Rami Martini said there are currently two investment contracts underway.

“One investment is with the Olympic Tour Company in the Latakia governorate” he said, adding that this project was more than half complete and that the company is one of the “most important” investors in the tourism sector in Syria.

“The second company is Sinara Int, which was granted a contract on favourable terms with the Latakia City Council under the auspices of the Syrian Ministry of Tourism. We hope that work on this project will begin over the next few months,” Martini added.

In 2019, the minister said that Syria was seeking to attract Russian tourists, mainly for religious tourism including visiting Christian shrines and for the development of resorts on the Syrian coast.

In 2022, a  Russian company signed a $59.7 million investment deal for the development of a new tourism site on Syria‘s coast, despite huge poverty blighting the country.

The development included 48 chalets and a 350-room hotel alongside childrens’ playgrounds, swimming pools, sports areas and mini golf courses. Land was also dedicated to offices, entertainment services, and a physiotherapy centre. 

The project was agreed upon despite the ongoing war and economic crisis in Syria, which has made millions of  homeless and plunged many more into poverty.

Latakia province, the home of the Assad family, has suffered from less violence than other parts of Syria.

Syria is subject to strict US sanctions due to regime war crimes which makes it difficult for outside parties to invest in Syria. 

Although the projects will likely create some jobs, only a fraction of Syrians will have the money to benefit from the tourism services, due to the extreme poverty in Syria.

While war has contributed to economic malaise in Syria, regime corruption has also made a small number of Syrians extremely wealthy while the rest of the country struggles to afford basics such as food and energy.

Syria has been embroiled in an over decade long war, which started in 2011 when the Assad regime brutally cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.

Russia intervened in 2015 to aid the collapsing Assad regime, killing thousands of civilians alongside the regime in indiscriminate bombardment of rebel-held areas. Over 500,000 people have been killed in the war and 80 percent of the population plunged into poverty.

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