Definition Of Optimism: Syria Launches Tourism Campaign
The Syrian Ministry of Tourism has launched a promotional video showing vacationers jet-skiing and sunbathing on its beaches.
The film features the slogan: ‘Syria - Always Beautiful.’
The promotional campaign has been described as 'bizarre.' And no wonder: the country is still in the grip of a 5 yr. civil war, which has left an estimated 250,000 Syrians dead and 11 million displaced.
The video, launched on YouTube focuses on the resort of Tartus. To be frank, it’s not much of a sales pitch, featuring only long overhead views of beaches, jet-skis and speedboats. It could be anywhere.
Under the heading: ‘Syria: AVOID ALL TRAVEL,’ Global Affairs Canada “advises against all travel to Syria due to ongoing conflict.”
It continues: “There is an extreme risk to your personal safety and security. You should not travel to this country, territory or region. If you are already in the country, territory or region, you should consider leaving if it is safe to do so.”
Syria was a tourism destination before the war erupted. Foreign tourism accounted for 14% of the nation’s gross domestic product in 2010 and brought in about $8 billion a year, according to Syria's tourism minister, Bishr al-Yazigi.
In 2013, 465,000 tourists visited the country, down from the 8 million before fighting started in 2011, he said.