Tourists spending
down nine percent
Decrease attributed to

visitors’ lower purchasing power

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Tourist expenditure dropped nine percent during the last year compared to 2015, according to Global Blue’s report: Insights into Tourist Spending Q4 2016. The report accounts for VAT refunds that occur at Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport and other borders. Saudi tourists spending dropped 17 percent, Emiratis ten percent, and Kuwaitis eight percent.

Saudi tourists represented 33 percent of the total number of spenders, followed by Kuwaitis at 14 percent, and Emirati’s at 13 percent. These figures include Lebanese expatriates living in the said countries.

The evolution of refund transaction numbers dropped 11 percent last year compared to 2015. It dropped 20 percent from Saudi’s and Kuwaitis, 19 percent from Egyptians, and 15 percent from Qataris.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, the number of tourists reached 1.55 million in the first 11 months compared to 1.4 million until the same period in 2015. Joe Yaacoub, Head of Commercial Lebanon at Global Blue, said that the purchasing power of the tourists coming in has dropped.

“Tourists mainly from the Gulf used to come and spend more, especially on luxury products, but we missed Khaliji tourists last year,” he said.

Yaacoub said that even expatriates were not spending as much as before.

Around 75 percent of spending went on fashion and clothing followed by watches and jewelry at 13 percent. Spending evolution by category dropped nine percent. Spending on watches and jewelry dropped 24 percent.

Beirut tops the list at 80 percent, followed by Metn at 14 percent, in terms of areas in which spending was most noticeable. Spending evolution dropped ten percent in Beirut, and 36 percent in Keserouan, but increased about seven percent in Metn.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Date Posted: Jan 09, 2017