The world's oldest inhabited city will boost its Old city with a $35 million luxury hotel, Syria's state news agency SANA said on Thursday.
Tourism Minister Saadallah Agha al-Qalaa has laid the foundation stone for a
five-star Holiday Inn hotel in Old Damascus, a city in itself that houses historic mosques and churches.
The hotel, due for completion early 2011, will cover an area of 2,000 square meters (22,000 square feet) near the historic al-Hamidiyeh souk, the citadel and Ummayad mosque.
The building of the country's first Holiday Inn underlines "the strong desire of the Syrian government to invest in the tourism sector," said the hotel's owner, Mohammed al-Rifai.
Holiday Inn is owned by Britain's Intercontinental Hotels Group.