Lebanon Businessnews News

Shopping tourists are back
Heavy activity expected in Q4
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Tax-free spending grew by nine percent in the third quarter of 2014, as compared to the same period, last year, according to Global Blue’s latest report, 'Insights into Tourists Spending’.

“We are expecting a booming fourth quarter if security conditions in Beirut and Mount Lebanon remain intact,” said Joe Yaacoub, Country Manager at Global Blue Lebanon.

The report is based on VAT refunds from the Hariri International Airport (HIA) and other border points. The positive trend began early, in the third quarter, following a 30 percent growth in the second quarter.

However, the first three quarters of this year showed a one percent drop, compared to the same period in 2013.

Saudis and Kuwaitis are topping the list of spenders. But according to Yaacoub, most visitors are expatriates. “The positive numbers of Global Blue do not reflect hotel reservations, which revealed that a large number of the visitors were Lebanese,” Yaacoub said. Expats are aware that instability is localized in some regions and not widespread, he said. Shoppers are mostly interested in fashion and apparel, along with jewelry and watches.

All regions showed positive retail activities. Kesserwan showed the most active markets, with a 26 percent growth comparing Q3 to last year’s. Yaacoub said that in 2014, several retailers developed their businesses in Jounieh and Kaslik. Rolex opened a new boutique in Jounieh, Dareen International along with Azadea, have also deepened their large brand portfolios in the area. “The F&B and nightlife activity of the region, along with its stable security conditions, have affected its retail activity.” Year-on-year, Baabda is still the most active area thanks to the Beirut City Center, which is attracting visitors from the region.
Reported by Rana Freifer
Date Posted: Oct 07, 2014
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