How would a journalist fly to Syria
"Be one of the first to immerse yourself in this thousand-year history" - the website of the French tour operator Clio reads as if the eight years' war in Syria was over.
After an eight-year hiatus, he decided to add Syria back to the catalog in 2019. The first ten-day round trip through the conflict area starts on April 6th in Paris. The participants see the capital Damascus, the oasis city of Palmyra, the city of Homs and the mountain village of Maalula.
French travel agency brings tourists to Syria
By plane from Paris to the Lebanese capital Beirut, from there by bus. Because European airlines don't fly to Syria. The trip costs from 2,950 euros per person.
And does someone really want to do this trip? Yes. "The success was there immediately", says the deputy Clio boss Jean-Pierre Respaut of the newspaper "Le Figaro". "A first group of around 20 travelers is already complete, five more trips are planned from autumn."
The Federal Foreign Office warns against traveling to Syria
A travel warning applies to Syria - people die across the country every day. The Foreign Office calls on all Germans who have not yet left the country to leave Syria. The German embassy in Damascus is closed, in an emergency it cannot provide consular assistance on site.
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For Respaut, on the other hand, the situation in Syria is “more stable today, the country is largely pacified and the government has recaptured most of the national territory”. That is why the safety of travelers is also guaranteed.
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“We only offer safe zones,” emphasizes Respaut. Areas such as Aleppo or the Euphrates region that are not yet “completely pacified” would be avoided. At certain stages, the tour group is even accompanied by the police, says Respaut.
Organizer: Tourism helps Syria on its way back to normal
The French Foreign Ministry is outraged: "The Clio travel agency exposes its customers to a risk of which it is fully aware." The organizer is responsible for the guests and has to pay for it should something happen.
Travel warnings from both the Foreign Office and its French counterpart are no reason for Clio to avoid the country: For the people of Syria, tourism is "a means of returning to normality", according to Respaut.
"Boycotting your country while the Syrians are waking up from a long nightmare would mean double-punishing them."
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