NNA - Pummeled by an unprecedented economic crisis in Lebanon’s new history, the tourism sector on Friday gave the government, and the relevant authorities, one month to meet a list of the sector’s demands or else a “Black Day for Tourism in Lebanon" will be announced on August 3, 2020 — in the event that the ailing sector’s demands are not met.
“We will make of the ministries of Tourism and Economy a place for us to stage an open sit-in,” their statement of recommendations read.
The Federation of Tourism & Hotel Associations in Lebanon held a press conference this morning at the Phoenicia Hotel, in the presence of President of the Federation, Pierre Ashkar, Vice President of the Union of Restaurant Owners, Tony Rami, Secretary General of the Syndicate of Maritime Tourist Establishments, Jean Beiruti, President of the Syndicate of Travel and Tourism Companies in Lebanon, Jean Abboud, President of the Syndicate of Furnished Apartments in Lebanon, Ziad al-Labban, President of the Syndicate of Car Rental Companies, Muhammad Dakdouk, and other figures involved in the country’s tourism industries.
The conference ended with a list of recommendations addressed to the Lebanese government and officials at all levels:
1- Approval of the plan referred by the Minister of Tourism to the cabinet, which includes proposals for projects, decrees, tax exemptions, and loan installments.
2- Approval of the implementation decrees of the aforementioned plan, and reference of the required draft laws to the House of Parliament.
3 - Adoption of a "tourism dollar" rate; otherwise, there is no possibility for the remaining institutions to keep operating in light of the outrageous cost of commodities and raw materials in the markets, especially that many traders are required to pay in US dollars, in cash, at the black market exchange rate while tourist institutions still sell their services at the official exchange rate of LBP 1550.
4- Seeking a supportive plan for travel ticket prices to activate foreign tourism to Lebanon.
The tourism sector then warned that if the aforementioned list of demands was not recognized by the Lebanese state, then on August 3, 2020, the tourist unions will call for an extraordinary meeting and a press conference to declare a “Black Day of Tourism in Lebanon”, after which the following steps will be taken:
1- Closure of all the tourist establishments in Lebanon.
2- Placement of all the owners and employees of tourism institutions such as hotels, restaurants, cafes, clubs, swimming pools, travel and tourism offices, furnished apartments, car rental, and tourist guides, under the government's responsibility due to the relevant institutions’ inability to fulfill their obligations.
3- Call for a massive demonstration by all of the workers in the tourism sector and their families.