Lebanon Businessnews News

Arab visitors drop 18 percent
Abboud unveils in progress emergency plan to rescue tourism this year
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June 27, 2011- Minister of Tourism Fadi Abboud said the 500,000 tourists who enter the country through land borders each summer might drop by 60 to 70 percent this year due to instability in Syria.
“This situation calls for exceptional measures to make up for the large drop (in number of visitors),” he said in a statement Sunday (June 26).

Abboud outlined the guidelines of the projected emergency plan. He said the ministry has contacted the Middle East Airlines and urged it to increase its flights from neighboring countries, mainly Jordan which accounts for the major bulk of land visitors.

According to Abboud, the second phase of the plan addresses foreign visitors from the Gulf Countries. He said residents in Gulf countries, with various nationalities, should be allowed access to the country through facilitated entry procedures. The ministry has had positive feedback from the General Security regarding this issue and actual measures will be announced soon, according to Abboud.

The tourism emergency plan also tackles issues related to the Beirut International Airport, the Higher Tourism Committee, and increasing the number of Tourism Police.

The minister said during the first week after the announcement of the new cabinet lineup, reservations at hotels went up from 40 percent to 70 percent, while the second week witnessed an increase in reservations to 82 percent. According to Abboud, despite that we had lost 18 percent of Arab tourists during the first five months of the year, the number of foreign non-Arab visitors rose instead and tourist spending kept its rate compared to 2010.
Date Posted: Jun 27, 2011
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