On Tuesday (October 5), Syrian social media users and pages mourned the death of Palestinian-Syrian businessman Osman al-Aidi, a prominent tourism tycoon, at the age of about 90.
According to the pages reporting Aidi’s death, his passing represented the loss of one of the “most prominent pillars of the Syrian economy.” The pages described him as “the man who put Syria on the map of world tourism.”
Official state media did not report on Aidi’s death.
Who is Osman al-Aidi?
Born in 1931, Osman al-Aidi moved with his father to Syria before the Palestinian nakba (catastrophe) occurred in 1948.
Aidi held a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Dams, Irrigation, and Hydropower from the Grenoble Institute of Technology, from which he graduated in 1952. In 1955, Aidi received his Doctorate in Aquatic Sciences and Fluid Mechanics from a French university, the Sorbonne.
Aidi served as chairman of the Syrian Tourism Establishments Company, which he founded in 1977, and as chairman of the French hotel group Le Royal Monso, which he co-founded. The hotel chain includes the Ferné, Miramar Crosti, and Elysee Palace hotels, according to Aidi’s biography published on the website “Who They Are.”
Aidi served as president of the International Federation of Hotels and Restaurants between 1993 and 2021. He was also president of the Euro-Mediterranean Tourism Organization, honorary president of the International Association of Hotels and Restaurants in Switzerland. He also co-founded the BankMed in France and Lebanon, serving as a board member.
Aidi is considered one of the most important Palestinian businessmen in Syria, having contributed to many development projects. Aidi’s most prominent projects were his engineering study for building the Al-Rastan and Muhradah dams; constructing an irrigation network in the Al-Ghab Plain; and the restoration of many archaeological sites in Syria. Aidi received the Syrian Order of Merit award from Hafez al-Assad.
Aidi also built his own “Sham Hotels” chain in a number of governorates, including the Ibla Al-Sham, Shahba al-Sham, and Bosra al-Sham hotels, according to official Syrian news agency SANA.
Aidi has not released any political media statements in the past 10 years explaining his position on the Syrian revolution.
In 2016, Friends of Damascus held a ceremony in honor of Aidi, which was attended by Najah al-Attar, the Syrian regime’s vice president, along with several other official figures.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.