Published on Thursday, September 1, 2016
The Syrian Ministry of Tourism has launched a promotional video showing holidaymakers jet-skiing and sunbathing on its beaches, using the slogan Syria - Always Beautiful.
The video, launched on You Tube, depicts carefree holidaymakers on busy beaches, pristine blue seas, jet-skiers and speedboats as it pans the coastline, focusing on the resort of Tartus.
The promotional campaign has been described as 'bizarre' as the country is still in the grip of a five-year civil war, which has left an estimate 250,000 Syrians dead and 11 million displaced.
The UK Foreign Office advises against all travel to the country, saying: "British nationals in Syria should leave now by any practical means. The situation remains extremely volatile and dangerous."
Foreign tourism accounted for 14% of the Syrian'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 eight million before fighting started in 2011, he said.
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The recent insolvency of Low Cost Travel Group, one of the large players in the travel industry had a big impact on the travelers, hotels and all related players from both wholesale & retail arms. There were about 27,000 people on a holiday who had booked through the company comprised of a €200 million wholesale arm and €500 million OTA / retail arm.