Saadallah Agha al-Qalaa

Position: Tourism Minister, Syria

Biography: Saadallah Agha al-Qalaa is overseeing Syria’s attempts to revive its tourism industry and make the sector a central pillar of the national economy and an engine of regional development.

In November, Al-Qalaa called for the development and protection of Syria’s traditional craft and manufacturing industries, identifying them as a key part of the country’s attraction to tourists. Syria is investing in improving and expanding tourism infrastructure in a bid to boost annual visitor numbers to 12 million by 2014.

Since 2002, the Tourism Ministry has staged the Silk Road Festival, an event promoting the country, to which international and regional media are invited in an effort to raise Syria’s profile as a holiday destination.

In 2009, Syria expects a 10 per cent rise in visitor numbers to 6 million, despite the -global financial crisis. Al-Qalaa has a doctorate in civil engineering.

Contact: (+963) 2210122