DAMASCUS - Syria has unveiled plans for a 15-billion-dollar tourist resort to be built on Mount Hermon, overlooking the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Lebanon, the press quoted an official Tuesday as saying.
The project, to include hotels, shopping centres, skiing and other sports facilities reachable by cable car, is to be developed by an unspecified group of Syrian, Kuwaiti and Saudi investors, said Mustapha Kafri, director of the country's investment authority.
The government has given its tentative go-ahead on the project, which is expected to be carried out over the next 15 years.
Mount Hermon is 2,814 metres (9,232 feet) high, and is the largest mountain in either Syria or Israel. The southern and western slopes of the mountain were captured by the Jewish state during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
Kafri characterised 2005 as the "year of investment" in Syria. Some 70 projects presented by Syrian investors, worth 1.6 billion dollars, were approved by the state's Superior Investment Council in September.
Economists estimate that eight to nine billion dollars in investment is needed each year to produce a seven percent gross domestic product growth rate in Syria, compared to around four percent currently.