• Beirut

  • Thursday, November 23, 2023 at 6:23 AM
    Last Update : Monday, November 27, 2023 at 2:14 PM

Lebanese Tourism Suffers Massive Losses Due to Border Tensions with Israel

(AWP) - What started as a promising tourist season ahead of Christmas and the winter holidays in Lebanon is turning into a crisis, due to the ongoing clashes between Israel and Hezbollah on the southern borders.

Escalating border tensions have prompted many tourists to cancel their hotel reservations, and the country has seen a steep decrease in the number of incoming visitors.

According to Pierre Ashkar, President of the Lebanese Federation for Tourism and Hotels Association, the tourism sector has been paralysed by the recent tensions.

"When the war began, especially the skirmishes on the southern border of Lebanon, all reservations in the tourism sector for a period of two or three months were canceled. Moreover, all embassies and countries asked their citizens to leave Lebanon, or not to come in the first place, and this has caused a great paralysis,” he said.

We cannot think of tourism before the end of the war, even for Lebanese expatriates who come to visit their families and live in their homes to spend the holidays in Lebanon. Now they are afraid, and hesitate to come,” he added.

Tourism company owner Mohammed Barakat said that the last few weeks have been very difficult, with the number of visitors to Lebanon falling by 95%.

"The situation is currently very difficult compared to previous years. In the past, whether during the war, the economic crisis, or the Corona pandemic, we were able to overcome all obstacles. However, the past 50 days have been the most difficult that we have ever experienced as a company in the field of tourism and travel in Lebanon, whether for those coming to Lebanon or for those departing for tourism outside it. If we compare with last year, there is a decrease of 90% or 95% in the number of incoming tourists,” he said.

Experts believe that the tourism sector in Lebanon will not be revived anytime soon, even if a truce is reached, unless the travel bans and advisories issued by some countries upon the outbreak of confrontations between Hezbollah and Israel in the south are lifted.