Lebanon Businessnews News
 

Ministry calls for broader open skies
Liberalizing flights would cut prices, boost tourism
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The Ministry of Tourism is pushing for the liberalization of flights to Lebanon in order to decrease ticket prices during this difficult touristic situation.

The Ministry said broadening the open skies policy might improve part of the touristic season, which has been witnessing a severe drop in the past two years. Its statistics show that tourist numbers have dropped by around 12 percent in H1 2013, with most tourists coming from Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq.

According to the Ministry, ticket prices are subject to significant increases during holidays, which doesn’t help attract more tourists. For instance, a regular Amman-Beirut ticket costs around $400, but climbs up to $700 on holidays such as Al-Fitr.

Jean Abboud, President of the Syndicate of Touristic and Travel Agencies, said the price of the ticket is a burden for visitors: “It makes up to 60 percent of the price of the whole travel package to Lebanon.”

He said travel agencies are not able to book flights using low season prices during holidays. Ticket prices then go up by 40 percent, which drives tourists away.

“The Ministry’s request is not applicable unless airline companies increase the frequency of their flights from high demand cities such as Amman, Cairo, and Bagdad,” he said. For instance, the number of daily flights to Amman could be increased from six to ten.
Reported by Rana Freifer
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Date Posted: Aug 06, 2013