The Syrian Ministry of Tourism has launched an initiative to reactivate the industry. Called “Syria shines once again” it aims to show potential visitors it’s safe to travel to tourist sites in the country after more than three years of civil war.
Actress Hana Nassour joined a group invited to visit historic Seidnaya in west Damascus, in the first of many trips intended to re-boost the tourist trade.
“This is the first trip launched in the world of tourism in Syria,” she said. “We enjoyed being among the first to take part in these trips. We missed our country; every stone in every church, and the monuments. We missed people.”
Tourism in Syria collapsed as the conflict spread. Millions were forced to flee their homes and the President Bashar al-Assad’s government lost control of large parts of the country.
While recent government victories over rebels have secured safer passages to some areas, looting and shelling have destroyed many archeological sites and museums.