Nibal Bakfalouni - Syriandays
In the framework of the organization of the joint work between the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Culture, which aims to feature the archeological sites and buildings as an essential component of the national heritage and a cultural and tourist product, encourage the local tourist in the current ear and prepare for the rehabilitation and investment of the concerned buildings and sites which will positively reflect on the economic and social development and emphasize the civilized and tourist image of Syria abroad, key principles and joint mechanisms and priorities have been identified on the basis of the specialty, tasks and the terms of references for each of the Ministries involved.
In order to shed light on the common mechanisms which have been adopted, Minister of Tourism eng. Bishr Yaziji stated that the tasks of the Ministry of Tourism area related to the tourist investment of the archeological sites, in addition to making all essential services available for tourists and visitors. They are also connected with marketing and promoting those sites locally and internationally. He stressed the importance of the relation between the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Culture, as culture is considered the owner of the archeological sites and that it is their duty to protect it, carry out the archeological excavation and detect the rest of the archeological treasures, following up the processes of restoration and consolidation of those sites.
However, the role of the Ministry of Tourism lies in investing in those sites and making sure that the essential services are available. This is of great importance as the culture of tourism, which Syria has, is basically based on the archeological sites which are distributed all around Syria. The archeological site is closely connected with the surrounding environment which includes the local communities, environment, landscape elements, tourist activities and entertainments, hotel services in addition to the essential environment and public facilities.
As far as the joint work is concerned, His Excellency eng. Yaziji explained that this work can be identified in a number of domains; managing those archeological sites, which are distributed between the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Culture each according to its field of interest. It is also important to coordinate with other concerned Ministries such as the State Ministry of Environmental Affairs and the Ministry of Local Administration depending on the nature of the archaeological site. The other direction of the joint work is related to the tourist investment of the surrounding area of the archaeological site under specified conditions that preserve and protect the site and guarantee not to deteriorate the overall vision of it. Another direction of the joint work between the concerned Ministries is related to the development of the local communities through the establishing small businesses, training courses for those communities, marketing and selling their industries and handmade products, in addition to preparing a map of the tourist and archeological sites in Syria and developing plans for the museums and promoting their activities.
In this context, His Excellency eng. Yaziji met with Mohammad Saifo, the Resident Representative of Agha Khan Network for Development in Syria and discussed the prospects of joint cooperation in the areas of training and tourist rehabilitation. The meeting was attended also by Deputy Minister and Executive Director of the Aga Khan Cultural Services in Syria.
The Minister of Tourism highlighted the damages of the tourist facilities and the tourist sector in general, which impacted negatively on the national economy. He also mentioned what is being planned for in this regard to raise this sector in terms of education, training and administration of damaged tourist facility.
Dr. Ali Ismail; the Executive Director of the Foundation gave a presentation on the approaches of training and rehabilitation adopted by the tourist and educational institution of the Network.
Both sides discussed ways of cooperation in the field of reconstruction of the damaged archeological and tourist facilities. The delegation of the Institution expressed willingness and desire in providing assistance in the field of reconstruction.