By-land visitors plunge 65 percent
GCC residents can now get visas directly at Beirut Airport: Abboud
July 22, 2011- Minister of Tourism Fadi Abboud said Lebanon has lost 65 percent of visitors entering the country by land due to turmoil in neighboring Syria. “We lost 21,000 visitors from Jordan and more than 20,000 from Iran last month,” he said. However, Abboud added that the number of tourist influx from Europe and the US has increased by 12 percent.
According to Abboud, all residents of the Gulf Countries Council (GCC) can now get their visas directly at the Beirut Airport.
The Minister’s remarks came during a meeting for the Higher Tourism Committee on Thursday (July 21). The meeting featured high on means to boost the number of visitors to the country. Among the discussed measures was a proposal to increase the number of air flights with Jordan and the Gulf countries in order to make up for the drop in the number of by-land visitors. Abboud said the airport activity this year was better than that in 2010. “The situation of the tourism sector is fine and the drop in the number of visitors is only for tourists coming by land,” he said.
The Minister of Tourism said the meeting also addressed issues of food safety, and restaurants and hotels. Abboud said joint inspection patrols between the Consumer Protection Unit, of the Ministry of Economy, and the Tourism Control Office will be arranged in order to oversee the application of standards of food safety, hygiene, services, and prices.
According to Abboud, more than 14,000 tourist establishments operate in the country, of which less than 4,000 licensed firms, while the rest are unauthorized.
Date Posted: Jul 22, 2011