Published on : Monday, July 3, 2017
Beirut’s landmark Hamra Street is bustling again and hotel occupancy rates are on the rise. Just four years ago, Lebanon seemed to be losing its grip over its internal security. Lebanese proprietors looked forward to stability in Turkey and the Gulf region.
But now, Lebanon’s tourism sector is on the rise and the Gulf and Turkey, to the surprise of many, are looking shaky. While neighbouring Syria and Iraq burn, the Lebanese industry is showing promise of a new beginning.
“I know the region is going through very difficult times, but Lebanon has gotten lucky,” said the country’s Tourism Minister Avedis Guidanian.
Hotel occupancy in Lebanon, which went through 15 years of civil war that ended in 1990, has increasedby 25 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to the president of the national hotel owners’ syndicate, Pierre Ashkar, reaching 65 per cent this summer.
And passenger arrivals at Beirut’s airport outnumbered departures by about 24,000 during the recent Eid al-Fitr holiday, compared to about 19,000 last year, suggesting travellers are staying longer, according to statistics from the Civil Aviation Authority.
“If we were to say, what do we aspire to, and what are we capable of in light of what’s happening in Egypt, Turkey, and Arab countries, and in France and Europe because of the terrorism we should be doing much better,” said Ashkar.
Tags: looks up in Lebanon