Lebanon Businessnews News

Travel agencies' results unhurt by low tourism rates
Report growth in ticket sales
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Local travel agencies have been the least affected by the economic slowdown and tourism sector crisis. This segment reported positive results during 2012, according to Jean Abboud, Head of the Association of Travel and Tourist Agents in Lebanon.

Abboud said the agencies’ reliance on outgoing travel activity enhanced their growth figures: “We have a very active outgoing market which translated into a 12 percent annual growth in ticketing operations.” Local travel agencies issued a total of 1.1 million tickets in 2012.

The value of sales grew by nine percent year-on-year to around $700 million. The discrepancy between growth in the number of tickets and their value is due to the difference of ticket prices depending on the destination.

Abboud said the developing business market in Iraq and the ongoing turmoil in Syria also had a positive impact on local travel agencies: “Our overall operations grew by 20 percent due to the stagnant market in Syria.” He said the Bill Settlement Plan (BSP) of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which manages the flow of data and funds between travel agencies and airlines worldwide, shifted its operations to Lebanon after closing its offices in Syria.

According to Abboud, the growth in travel agencies’ business is expected to continue throughout this year as well: “January saw a very active market and we expect additional growth in the coming months.” Abboud said the ‘50 days of discounts’ tourism promotion campaign launched by the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) had a positive, albeit limited, effect on the business: “Although the results were lower than our expectations, this strategy should be adopted as a regular marketing approach, whether with or without a crisis.”

Reported by Rana Freifer
Date Posted: Feb 01, 2013
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