BEIRUT — Lebanon's caretaker Tourism Ministry Friday renewed its circular, issued last June, allowing tourist establishments to display their prices in dollars, provided that the invoice is printed in Lebanese lira and paid in either currency, the state-run National News Agency reported.
Although the Tourism Minister had described the decision in June as "exceptional and optional" and to run only "until the end of September 2022 inclusive," Nassar did not weigh in on the subject since the end of the summer season, leaving it to businesses to do what works for them.
The ministry's decision came a few weeks before end-of-year celebrations and in the midst of the FIFA World Cup, in agreement with the sector's unions, and "until further notice."
Official figures counted more than one million visitors and some $4.5 million dollars in revenue during the summer season. Jean Abboud, president of the Association of Travel & Tourist Agents in Lebanon, had announced in early Nov. that tourism reservations for Christmas and the New Year “will be similar to those Lebanon experienced during the summer season."
Abboud had added that he expected airline reservations to Lebanon during the holidays to hit “100 percent."
If these predictions prove accurate, 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 impact 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.