Tourism reservations for Christmas and the New Year “will be similar to those Lebanon experienced during the summer season,” when official figures counted more than one million visitors and $4.5 million in revenue, Jean Abboud, president of the Association of Travel & Tourist Agents in Lebanon, announced Thursday.
The syndicate’s head anticipated “a significant increase in Arab and foreign tourists” compared to Lebanese expatriates. According to him, holiday season flight reservations to Lebanon, which are on the rise, have already reached 85 percent capacity between Dec. 20 and 31.
Abboud added in his statement that expected this rate to hit “100 percent” and that “additional flights will be organized for Lebanon.”
This is good news for the Lebanese tourism sector, which has suffered from the accumulated crises that the country has experienced in recent years, including the outbreak of COVID-19 and its consequences on international travel, as well as the Aug. 4, 2020 Beirut port explosion. An economic and financial crisis has plagued the country for the past three years, leading to political instability and a feeling of insecurity.
For Abboud, however, the current institutional vacuum — namely the absence of both a full-fledged cabinet and president — “will not have a significant impact on bookings,” adding that only the lack of security could affect them.
This article was originally published in French on L’Orient-Le Jour. Translation by Joelle El Khoury.