It’s official: Syria is one of the travel hotspots for 2010.
The New York Times puts Damascus at number 7. The paragraph sells the Syrian capital on the basis of its boutique hotels (really, is that the best you can come up with?), and was written by former Global Post Beirut correspondent Don Duncan (I’m still not sure why the NYT couldn’t bother to find someone actually living in Damascus).
The next Marrakesh? Perhaps mindful of the way that renovations of historic riads have drawn upscale travelers to Marrakesh, Damascus hoteliers are trying to mine tourism gold in the rundown buildings of the Syrian capital’s Old City. These 18th-century homes — many with inviting courtyards and rooftop terraces — are now boutique hotels, like the nine-room Old Vine (www.oldvinehotel.com) and the Hanania (www.hananiahotel.com), which doubles as a hotel and a small museum.
But if you’re worried that the NYT’s discovery might cause a flood of Americans to have their own Damascene conversions (sorry, I couldn’t resist), then don’t. Last year the NYT put Beirut at number 1, and what good did that do?
(On a stylistic note – how badly edited was this list? Three destinations in a row start with “The next xxxx?”)