Beirut just ranked first in the MENA region, and third in the world, for the cost of living for expatriates, according to a report issued by the international company EuroCost International.
The report included 273 cities from around the world, and Beirut still made it to the top of the list with its expensive rents (especially near the downtown), hotels, restaurants, and clothing stores.
The EuroCost International report indicated that from last year to this year, the Lebanese Capital of Culture has advanced 4 places from the ranking of 2018. Beirut ranked the seventh globally, only to jump to the third.
This notable jump indicates a significant increase in the cost of living in Beirut in general, and not only for the expatriates. Beirut has continuously maintained its ranking as the first most expensive city for expats in the Middle East since 2012, exceeding Dubai.
Beirut falls just under Tokyo and Honk Kong, which are considered the first and second most expensive cities for expats respectively, and right above Geneva, Zurich, New York, and London.
According to EuroCost International’s official website, the ranking of the annual cost of living compares the living costs of expats in major locations worldwide, including housing costs but excluding health and education costs.
The 2019 ranking is based on prices recorded in June 2019 and updated on the basis of September 2019 exchange rates. 273 locations have been considered for this ranking.
The website says that the cost of living is particularly high for expatriates in the Lebanese capital, specifically as a result of high rents in the secure zones.
Conversely, both cities from the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, are in sharp decline and, incidentally, have fallen out of our top 30 world ranking.
The cost of living in Beirut does not look promising for a country that depends on tourism as one of the main sources of income in the state’s treasury.
Tourists and expats constitute a pillar of the Lebanese national economy, providing employment opportunities for many people.
For long, Lebanon was seen as the “Eastern Switzerland”, as it attracted foreign capital and business and many tourists who wished to learn about the culture and customs of the people of the eastern Mediterranean.
Beirut was also known to be “The Capital of Culture” and for years, has invited foreigners to come to live in its diverse neighborhoods and side by side with its welcoming neighbors.
In September 2019, “Expatistan” revealed the cost of living in 105 countries and 317 cities around the world. It calculated each in comparison to Prague’s, based on the prices of a wide range of services and products classified within a number of fields.
The field included food, housing, clothing, transportation, personal care, and entertainment.
Lebanon ranked 29 globally out of 105 countries for the cost of living. In the Middle East region, Beirut ranked fifth out of 21 (behind Doha, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi).
The website also indicated that Living in Beirut is 85% more expensive than Istanbul and 7% more than Barcelona.