Tourist spending is stable. Saudis and Emiratis top the list - Lebanon

Tourist spending is stable
Saudis and Emiratis top the list
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Saudi and Emirati tourists were the top spenders last year, as per Global Blue’s report released on January 5, ‘Insights into tourist spending Q4 2014’.

Together they were responsible for nearly 30 percent of the total non-Lebanese tourism spending. Kuwaitis, Egyptians, Jordanians, Syrians, and French tourists followed. Fashion, clothing, jewelry and watches topped the list of items purchased.

Activity rose by just one percent in 2014. According to Joe Yacoub, Country Manager of Global Blue, there isn’t a negative trend.

Purchases by French and American citizens grew by 16 and 14 percent. According to Yacoub they are mainly dual-citizenship expatriates. “Most of these purchases are known for their volume not their value,” he said.

Spending was down in most local regions except for Baabda, which showed an increase of 40 percent and Kesrouan with 13 percent. Yacoub said that the Baabda increase can be attributed to the relatively new Beirut City Center mall driving visitors to the area.

“Many businesses have opened branches around Jounieh,” he said, such as Warde and Patchi, which opened nearby in Ghazir. Yacoub said that a negative growth in Beirut was expected due to the closing of several stores downtown and in Verdun.

“We are expecting a push of five to six percent during January, due to the sales push that follows the holidays, which drives shoppers,” said Yacoub.

The figures published by Global Blue represented VAT reclamation related to purchases by visitors, which is considered to be an indicator of tourist shopping trends.
Reported by Rana Freifer
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Date Posted: Jan 06, 2015