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CHAMPION OF THE DAY
Visas made easier for Iraqis
Measure makes group travel possible
The Ministry of Tourism (MoT), in collaboration with the General Security, is implementing new procedures to facilitate the inflow of tourists from Iraq. Iraqi tourists will now be able to obtain their visas at the airport, without any previous conditions or financial guarantees required.
This measure came further to a request by the Iraqi government. According to MoT statistics, Iraqis are currently number one among Arab visitors to the country.
Previously, Iraqis were required to present a document proving that they have a hotel reservation, along with a $2,000 a guarantee in order to obtain a tourist visa upon arrival at Beirut’s Airport, said Jean Abboud, President of the Association of Travel and Tourist Agents in Lebanon. He said the new procedures will attract more tourists from Iraq who will come to consider Lebanon as a holiday destination rather than just a transit port or a place to conduct business.
Abboud said Iraqi travelers rarely visited in groups, so designing special packages and tours for them was not relevant. He said the possibility of having such packages is now more feasible with the new measures. Iraqis mainly stay in four or three-star hotels, and are interested in visiting touristic sites, such as Byblos, according to Abboud. He said packages for five to seven days would be ideal for these travelers.
According to Abboud, Iraqis are considered good spenders, and local tourism should figure out a way to benefit from their presence most.
Reported by Rana Freifer
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Jul 11, 2013
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