The head of the Syndicate of Restaurant, Cafe, Club, and Patisserie Owners in Lebanon, Tony Rami, has spoken out on the current reality of the tourism sector in Lebanon.
In a statement on Saturday, Rami brought up the remarkable achievements that were recently recorded in the region.
He mentioned the UAE’s historic Mars landing, Saudi Arabia‘s recent announcement of 1 million new job openings in the tourism sector, and Qatar’s new infrastructure to receive millions of tourists annually.
“Unfortunately,” he then said, “we are still living in Lebanon the opposite to this beautiful picture. It is true that surrendering is forbidden, but the ability to continue and exist has become almost impossible.”
Tourism has always been a vital source of annual revenue for the Lebanese treasury. However, the economic crisis, the political instability, the pandemic, and the Beirut Port explosion all contributed to a disastrous tourism season last year.
“Realistically, more than half of the touristic establishments closed down in 2020, and 50% of the workers became unemployed, especially after the last lockdown period, which lasted for over two months,” Rami said.
What remains, he stated, are a few “per diem” institution owners who would like to reopen their institutions but will not be able to do so.
This, Rami attested, is due to “the poor conditions and the state’s failure to provide a minimum level of compensation and incentives, approve a proposed exemption plan and legislation that protects the sector, or take a single righteous economic measure since the beginning of the economic crisis and the pandemic and until this day.”
He disappointedly noted that today, Lebanon’s restaurant sector is witnessing a mass emigration of investors and trademarks that are seeking better opportunities overseas, describing it as “the biggest blow in the history of tourism in Lebanon.”
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