Tourism and War: Timchenko’s Managers to Build a Luxury Hotel in SyriaBusiness
Not having had time to liberate the entire territory of Syria from paramilitary groups, the authorities of the country began to restore the tourist infrastructure. One of the first projects will be a $90 million five-star hotel, which will be built on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea by natives of Gennady Timchenko’s Stroytransgaz company, which has long-standing interests in Syria.
Russian company STG Logistic will build a premium hotel in the village of Manara, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, the ruling Arab Socialist Renaissance Party (Baath) in Syria announced on its website. The project will include a small shopping center, villas and swimming pools, as well as children’s entertainment areas and a conference hall.
The Syrian online edition of Business2business claims that the approximately $90 million project will be carried out jointly with the Baath. STG Logistic CEO Igor Kazak and its regional director Zahid Shakhsuvarov were present at the foundation stone laying ceremony in the middle of May in addition to Syrian officials, RBC wrote. Both of them previously worked for Gennady Timchenko’s Stroytransgaz. The company has interests in Syria, and for a long time Shakhsuvarov worked in its local branch. And Kazak, as deputy general director of Stroytransgaz, met with Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi in September 2015. The parties discussed the completion of the second gas processing plant (GPP-2). Stroytransgaz built the first one back in 2009, and the second one was supposed to be commissioned back in 2011, but the war interfered. Stroytransgaz also has contracts for the extraction of phosphate from the ores of the Al Sharqiya deposit in Palmyra.
Stroytransgaz declined to comment on whether Kazak and Shakhsuvarov are still employees of the company and whether STG Logistic is a related entity.
The stated sum of $90 million is enough to build a high quality premium hotel with all the necessary infrastructure, says General Director of Ivashkevich Hospitality Stanislav Ivashkevich. “This money, especially taking into account the cheap labor force in Syria, is enough for a hotel with about 300 rooms with a 4000 square meter shopping center,” he says. The Mediterranean coast of Syria is ideal for developing tourism, but due to the protracted civil war the area has fallen into decline in the country, the expert added. Mr. Ivashkevich believes it would be possible to involve one of the international hotel companies, which currently operate in such insecure markets as Somalia or Iraqi Kurdistan, to manage the hotel.
This is not the first attempt of Russian entrepreneurs to gain a foothold in the hotel market of Syria. Prior to the civil war, the hotel in Latakia, where the main Russian military base is now located, was planned to be built by Vladimir Evtushenkov #51 Sistema and Dmitry Pumpyansky’s Sinara Group #62 . The partners signed an agreement on the development of the project ten years ago. It provided for joint investments of $25 million each. The money was to build a 466-room hotel with a capacity of 900 guests. The partners even managed to rent six hectares of land for 49 years. In 2010, Sistema pulled out of the project and Sinara signed a management contract for the hotel with the Turkish Dedeman Hotels & Resorts Int. However, the project was never implemented.