It is bad news for hotels in Beirut in 2011. The slump is related to the regional and political unrest in the city. Hence the people who had initial plans to Beirut are turning towards other Middle East countries such as Syria, Turkey and Egypt. There was a global financial crisis in 2007 and this rattled the financial markets in the Arabian Peninsula.
There has also been a case of unrest in Syria as well. This is the only country that has an open border connecting to Lebanon. The country serves as a major gateway to Lebanon. However this year there has been widespread violence in Syria. Even the number of people arriving from Jordan into the Arab Republic has dropped from 31,000 in 2001 to just 5,800 in the year 2011. There has also been an increase in air traffic and this had led to decrease in the number of tourists coming by road.
There was also Ramadan from 1st Aug to 29th August. This also led to lesser number of tourists coming to Beirut. This is because Muslims forgo their travel plans as it is a religious month for them and they have to follow strict fasting. Hence the country’s high tourist season which is between May and September was overlapped with Ramadan. This will happen for the next seven years.
If the tourism department wants to promote the tourism sector then must intensify its promotional campaign and remove the fear of civil unrest from the minds of tourists. Travel agents should advertise in foreign countries and promote Beirut as an international destination. However the tourism ministry claims that it has tight budget for promotion. For example, less of tourist pamphlets have been distributed to foreign travel agencies. They are just lying there in the tourist office waiting to be picked up by passers by.