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.


A new hotel has opened in Damascus, another sign that Syria’s tourism industry is one of the country’s few sectors able to attract even limited private investment.


Four Seasons, the company that managed the most luxurious hotel property in Damascus and a symbol of the liberalisation of the Syrian economy under Bashar Al-Assad, has announced that it was leaving the country.