Better late than never. As the summer season continues and confirms to date the progress announced by Lebanese tourism stakeholders since the spring of this third year of the crisis, yesterday the Ministry of Tourism and NGO Live Love Lebanon officially presented their new campaign to boost the sector. The presentation took place during an event organized at the pilot training center of Middle East Airlines (MEA), near Beirut International Airport (AIB) whose infrastructure is struggling to cope with the size of people this first summer. with no travel restrictions. involved in Covid-19.
On the menu of the campaign called “Ahla bi hal Tallé” (Lebanese expression welcome, taken from a song by the Sabah singer): a music video already posted on social networks, a poster campaign that started about a month ago on Lebanese roads and an update to the Live Love-Explore Lebanon application used to find tourist sites in the country and, most recently, a selection of hiking trails .
MEPI, EU and EIB
The development of new application features was funded by the United States-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), a partner of this NGO for several years; with the support of the European Union and the European Investment Bank (EIB), according to details provided by Live Love Lebanon co-founder, Eddy Bitar. On the site, appointed by the Prime Minister, Nagib Mikati, the outgoing Minister of Tourism, Walid Nassar, and the American ambassador to Lebanon, Dorothy Shea, the three welcomed the launch of the campaign as well as the development of the application . .
The diplomat particularly stressed that his country has invested more than 300 million dollars in various projects supported by MEPI and shared the ambient optimism of tourism professionals and their expectations vis-à-vis a “promising” summer. Nagib Mikati, for his part, praised the “qualitative leap” recorded in Lebanese tourism before cleaning up AIB staff like MEA staff – whose president Mohammad el -Hout is also on site – in difficulties associated with the flow of passengers. management. Note that the MEA once again had to postpone an entire series of flights yesterday after a combination of factors affected air traffic at several major international airports (see opponent).
The outgoing Minister of Tourism, for his part, recalled that the country expects this summer “about 1.2 million” visitors, including “75%” of Lebanese expatriates. A marked increase in attendance that is also credited, he said, to the “tourism promotion campaigns” launched within the framework of the ongoing partnership between the ministry and Live Love Lebanon since 2012 Walid Nassar also welcomed the Saudi decision announced in early July by the Lebanese ambassador, Walid Boukhari, to allow Lebanese nationals to travel to Saudi Arabia from Lebanon without spending fourteen days in. quarantine in the third country. Finally, he thanked campaign partners, including the ten companies that promoted the poster campaign.
When contacted, the president of the Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies of Lebanon, Jean Abboud, reported average arrivals now fluctuate between 18,000 and 20,000 passengers per day, i.e. “most or more in 2019 ”, which is one of the most. productive years in terms of attendance. “We have to expect this momentum to continue until August,” he added. For his part, the president of the union of owners of beach resorts and beaches, Jean Beyrouthi, pointed out that the occupancy rate of the hospitality sector has increased to “90%” on the beach and even increased to “70 %” in the countryside. (more than he expected when we interviewed him in June). Since a circular from the Ministry of Tourism was published in June and valid until the end of September, Lebanese tourist establishments have been allowed to display their dollar prices. It remains to be seen what the overall impact of sector prices will be on the combination of this measure, the increase in attendees, the decline in the pound and the rise in food and energy prices.
Tax -free tourist spending in Lebanon fell 48% in the first half of 2022
Tax-free tourist spending in Lebanon fell 48% in the first six months of 2022 year-on-year, according to a report published by Global Blue, a Swiss company that specializes in VAT refunds in tourist purchases. It increased 232% in the first half of 2021. Regarding the number of tax refunds made, it increased 24% in this same period year-on-year.
Purchases over 5,000 euros (i.e. almost 5,100 dollars) account for 62% of the amount of tax refunds made in the first half of 2022, compared to 86% at the end of June 2021, while spending was not 300 euros (ie 307). dollars) represents the smallest share of those zero-rated with 5% in 2022, compared to 1% last year.
In detail, it was visitors to the Emirati, which accounted for 17% of the total, which accounted for the largest share of unpaid tourist spending in Lebanon in the first half of 2022. They were followed by Syrians (7 %), Kuwaitis and Saudis tied for third place with 6% each, and Egyptians and Qataris with 5% each, while the cumulative tax-free spending of nationals from elsewhere reached 53% in general.
In terms of evolution, only expenditures of Kuwaiti nationalities recorded an increase this financial year, up 11%, while among Egyptians (-54%), Emiratis (-48%), Syrians (-46 %), Qataris (-42%) and Saudis (-14%) were the lowest. Spending on visitors from other countries fell by 54%.
Tax -free purchases were typically made on clothing (72%, up 5 points) and on jewelry and watches (21%, minus 5 points). Most of the spending is made in Beirut (84%), more than in other regions.
Better late than never. As the summer season continues and confirms to date the progress announced by Lebanese tourism stakeholders since the spring of this third year of the crisis, yesterday the Ministry of Tourism and NGO Live Love Lebanon officially presented their new campaign to boost the sector. The presentation took place during …