Five years ago, Syria was a much buzzed about backpacker spot — atop many a vagabond’s list of must see places. Tourism made up 14 percent of the economy with over eight million visitors arriving yearly. That makes sense as it’s a country full of some of the world’s oldest cities, well-preserved ancient wonders, and a coastline of crystal clear blue waters and pristine beaches. At that time, it also happened to be one of the more liberal countries in the region — with vibrant arts, food, and cocktail scenes. It’s amazing how much can change in five short years.
This week, Syria’s Ministry of Tourism released a video promo for Tartus, a coastal town and major tourist destination. The sadness of not being able to go because of the risk of violence makes the video all the more depressing. The piece, shot largely with drones, shows packed beaches, blue skies, cabana filled promenades, and SO MANY jet skis, all over a dope beat. Is it real? Of course. Should you go? Probably not right now. But once it is safe, tourism can be an important part of rebuilding efforts.
It’s clear that Tartus has been largely safe during the war. This is often the case in civil war — some cities will be dust, others will be unchanged. We only hear that Syria is at war and create singularity of the place, when in reality there are huge swathes of the country sitting fallow while the locals long for lives and livelihood to return to normal.
Check out what’s happening at Tartus at the moment with these Instagram posts:
(Via The Atlantic)