The number of foreign tourists coming to Syria in 2010 amounted to 8.5 million, registering an increase of 40 percent compared to 2009. The Syrian Tourism Minister Saadallah Agha Al-Qala was quoted as saying 4.6 million tourists came from Arab countries in addition to 1.5 million Syrians living abroad. A total of 2.3 million tourists came from other countries.
The minister said that the government investments in the tourism sector rose last year by 9 percent. The Syrian government plans for the next five years to attract a huge foreign investment to the amount of US$ 55 billion to develop the tourism sector. This seems quite unrealistic as the value of foreign direct investments to Syria during the last year reached only US$ 2.5 billion.