Visit Syria: The garden spot of the Middle East

Rick Moran
Syria's UN ambassador, Bashar Ja'afari, has written a letter to the UN complaining about the fall-off in tourism in Syria since the revolt began 14 months ago.

No, really.

"In the cities and areas where there is tension, the impact of the crisis on the tourism sector has been totally disastrous: tourism activity has come to a complete halt and hotels have ceased to operate," Ja'afari wrote in the letter dated May 7.

"All restaurants, roadside rest-stops, fairgrounds and other leisure facilities have also had to close," he said.

Perhaps tourists don't want to be confused with ordinary Syrian citizens who routinely get gunned down by machine guns and blown up by artillery directed against them.

Ja'afari blamed the tourism downturn on travel websites for warning tourists to stay away, countries for halting flights to Syria, and "certain armed terrorist groups which target transport and communication routes and transport companies, in addition to terrorizing, killing and abducting civilians."

"Some 40 per cent of all those employed in the tourism sector in Syria are estimated to have lost their jobs completely or to have had their hours reduced," Ja'afari wrote in the three-page letter.

Now why would travel websites recommend people stay away from Syria? After all, the chances of a tourist catching a bullet are small - relatively speaking. And it's not like tourists would be walking into a shooting gallery - figuratively speaking.

Going on vacation in Syria can't be much worse than going on one of those rain forest "Green" vacations where you stay out in the middle of the Amazon jungle in a glorified lean-to surrounded by poisonous bugs and snakes and a gazillion mosquitos.

In fact, given the choice, I'd choose Syria.




Syria's UN ambassador, Bashar Ja'afari, has written a letter to the UN complaining about the fall-off in tourism in Syria since the revolt began 14 months ago.

No, really.

"In the cities and areas where there is tension, the impact of the crisis on the tourism sector has been totally disastrous: tourism activity has come to a complete halt and hotels have ceased to operate," Ja'afari wrote in the letter dated May 7.

"All restaurants, roadside rest-stops, fairgrounds and other leisure facilities have also had to close," he said.

Perhaps tourists don't want to be confused with ordinary Syrian citizens who routinely get gunned down by machine guns and blown up by artillery directed against them.

Ja'afari blamed the tourism downturn on travel websites for warning tourists to stay away, countries for halting flights to Syria, and "certain armed terrorist groups which target transport and communication routes and transport companies, in addition to terrorizing, killing and abducting civilians."

"Some 40 per cent of all those employed in the tourism sector in Syria are estimated to have lost their jobs completely or to have had their hours reduced," Ja'afari wrote in the three-page letter.

Now why would travel websites recommend people stay away from Syria? After all, the chances of a tourist catching a bullet are small - relatively speaking. And it's not like tourists would be walking into a shooting gallery - figuratively speaking.

Going on vacation in Syria can't be much worse than going on one of those rain forest "Green" vacations where you stay out in the middle of the Amazon jungle in a glorified lean-to surrounded by poisonous bugs and snakes and a gazillion mosquitos.

In fact, given the choice, I'd choose Syria.