Health Insurance For Expats In Syria

The Best Health Insurance For Expatriates Living In Syria

Posted by Greg Jones on January 24, 2020

If you've searched the internet for private medical insurance that covers expats in Syria then you are probably for looking for established UK based health insurance providers that can cover your medical expenses in Syria.

Living as an expat in Syria you want to avoid any nasty unexpected health care costs. In some countries these can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds for serious medical conditions.

Our advice when shopping around for health insurance that covers expatriates living in Syria is to speak to a health insurance broker. Health insurance is very complex and if you want complete certainty that Syria is covered you should consult with a medical insurance broker who can explain which providers will cover medical costs for expatriates in Syria and which will exclude it.

There are many advantages to using a insurance broker but the largest by far is that you're using their insurance training at no cost. They are paid by the insurer (Aviva or Bupa etc) rather than by you so it costs you no extra to use their brokering services.

  • Do you live in many different areas? Some will give you a cheaper policy premium than offers. A insurance broker will be able to advise whats best.
  • Do you have a hobby that may invalidate your insurance claim? A broker will know this vital information.
  • If you are a couple and one of you has claimed on your policy this year would it be cheaper to separate you both onto two different policies?
  • You've lean't you're at risk of developing a certain medical condition and want to know which policy provider offers the biggest amount of cover for it. A broker will know this instantly saving you so much time and effort.

You can call around every medical insurance provider on the market and ask if they provider cover for expats in Syria, however this will be a very time consuming process. Each insurer will ask for your medical history because its not normally a simple yes or not if a medical condition is covered or not.

Its far far quicker to speak to one medical insurance broker which will know which policy providers on the market offer cover for expats in Syria and under what terms they do or don't cover it.

Syria Information

Although Syria has some of the oldest cities in Western Asia, such as Damascus and Aleppo (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), tourism in Syria has greatly reduced as a result of the Syrian War, that began in 2011 and is ongoing, and its associated refugee crisis. Tourism has been further impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 starting in March 2020. The international economic sanctions imposed on Syria and the sharp drop in the value of the Syrian pound (SYP) also adversely impact tourism in Syria. The Ministry of Tourism is the responsible government department.

Before the start of the Syrian Civil War, 8.5 million tourists visited Syria in 2010, who brought in tourist revenue estimated at 30.8 billion SYP (US$8.4 billion, at 2010 rates), and accounted for 14% of the country's economy. By 2015, the number of tourists had declined by more than 98%.

Many tourist attractions have been damaged or destroyed by shelling, flights by all major airlines have been suspended, and many major tourist hotels have closed. It is estimated that considerable investment will be necessary to revive Syria's tourism industry.

Non-Arab visitors to Syria reached 1.1 million in 2002, which includes all visitors to the country, not just tourists. The total number of Arab visitors in 2002 was 3.2 million, most from Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. Many Iraqi businesspeople set up ventures in Syrian ports to run import operations for Iraq, causing an increased number of Iraqis visiting Syria in 2003–4. Tourism is a potentially large foreign exchange earner and a source of economic growth. Tourism generated more than 6% of Syria's gross domestic product in 2000, and more reforms were discussed to increase tourism revenues. As a result of projects derived from Investment Law No. 10 of 1991, hotel bed numbers had increased 51% by 1999 and increased further in 2001. A plan was announced in 2002 to develop ecological tourism with visits to desert and nature preserves. Two luxury hotels opened in Damascus at the end of 2004.

Tourism had been increasing considerably before the Civil War, that began in March 2011. According to the Syrian Ministry of Tourism in January 2011, about 6 million foreign tourists visited Syria in 2009, increasing to 8.5 million in 2010, a 40% increase. Tourism revenue was 30.8 billion Syrian pound (SYP) (US$8.4 billion) in 2010, 14% of the country's economy. Tourism industry revenue in 2010 was US$6.5 billion, accounting for 12% of the gross domestic product and 11% of employment.

Since the start of the Syrian Civil War, in March 2011, tourism has declined steeply. According to official reports, hotel rooms designed for foreign tourists have been occupied by refugees. In the first quarter of 2012, tourism revenue was about 12.8 billion Syrian pounds ($178 million), compared with 52 billion Syrian pounds ($1 billion) in the first quarter of 2011, and the number of foreign tourists decreased by more than 76% in the 2012 quarter. Employment in the tourism industry was down by "nearly two-thirds" in that period. According to UNESCO, five of Syria's six World Heritage Sites have been affected by the civil war. In 2012, Syria sent a letter to the United Nations describing the decline of its tourism industry, noting that the country's hotel-occupancy rate had fallen from 90% the previous year to 15%.

As of 2013, overall Syrian tourism revenue had declined by 94%, with Aleppo the worst affected, and the Tourism Minister stated, at the end of September 2013, that 289 tourist destinations had been damaged since 2011.

By 2015, the number of tourists had declined by more than 98%. The Ministry of Tourism claimed that 45,000 tourists visited the country in the first half of 2015, but these figures were disputed by observers, according to the Syrian Economic Forum, which stated that Iranian religious tourism was all that remained. According to a 2015 article in The Telegraph, hotels by beaches in the Mediterranean coast in Tartus and Latakia still received internal tourists and one hotel was "full" in the summer of 2014 and 2015.

As the Syrian Arab Army recaptured territory in the southern and western parts of the country, these areas came back under central Syrian government control. Major tourist sites damaged and made inaccessible due to the conflict began to be reconstructed and restored. Teams at damaged UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Old City of Aleppo, the ruins of Palmyra and Krak des Chevaliers have begun restoration and reconstruction following years of conflict and devastation.

Promotion of tourism in Syria is handled by the Syrian Ministry of Tourism, which also maintains an active Facebook page as well as the official Syria tourism website. In September 2016, Syria's Ministry of Tourism drew criticism from some quarters for releasing a video, "Syria Always Beatiful [sic]," encouraging tourists to visit its beaches. The video spotlighted regions such as Tartus, which remain somewhat peaceful, though Tartus saw an attack resulting in the deaths of over 150 in May 2016.