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Travel agency in Turkiye to relaunch trips to Syria under regime control in 2024

August 23, 2023 at 8:57 pm

Passengers look at the departure information board in Istanbul Airport on January 25, 2022 [Burak Kara/Getty Images]

A travel agency in Turkiye has revealed that it will launch trips to areas of Syria held by Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, over a decade after the ongoing conflict in the country began.

The Fest Travel Agency, based in Istanbul, is set to relaunch its trips to Syria for tourists from April 2024, stating on its website that the move comes as the country “reopened to tourism after a long, devastating and tiring war”.

According to the London-based news outlet, Middle East Eye, a representative of Fest Travel told it that, under the trip, flights would take tourists from Istanbul to the Lebanese capital, Beirut, where the company would then arrange transport for the Turkish tourists across the Syrian border by car as there are still no direct flights between Turkiye and Syria.

The company’s General Manager, Zekeriya Sen, told the paper that it first began organising and operating tours to Syria back in 2001, reportedly making it the foremost Turkish organisation to arrange such trips and packages. 

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The outbreak of the Syrian revolution, the regime’s brutal crackdown on peaceful protestors and the ensuing armed conflict changed that, however, halting trips previously organised by Fest and other travel tourism agencies to Syria.

Following the Assad regime’s recapture of most of the country, with the assistance of Russia and Iran, tourism to the regime-held territories – although still not entirely secure – has restarted and allowed many tourists and influencers to, once again, visit most of the main sites.

The trip “is an important chance to evaluate the impact of the war, especially. We’ve also added new activities to further enrich our itinerary,” Sen said. “We also offer a tailor-made dining experience for travellers. Our guests will taste the most delicious dishes of Syrian cuisine and learn cooking techniques.” 

A seven-day tour, between 20-27 April 2024, according to the company’s site, will cost $1,950 per person and include stays at five-star hotels in Damascus, Bursa, Palmyra and Aleppo. The company has also assured that it will secure security clearance for Syria’s land border, as well as approval of entry visas and a special permit to enter Palmyra.

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