Those who live and work in Lebanon know that the collapse of the economy has started before the revolution. It has been plummeting for a few years, but people were managing, even if with difficulties. At first, it was the small shops that started closing then it became more noticeable when popular restaurants closed their doors.
The tourism sector is one of the most profitable sectors in Lebanon, and it was keeping Lebanon on its feet. However, on October 17, Tony Al-Ramy, the president of the Syndicate of Restaurants, Cafés, Clubs, and Pâtisseries in Lebanon, warned that imposing more taxes on the tourism sector will result in its devastation.
Al-Ramy stated that the purchasing power has declined; this became worse when the dollar exchange rate started increasing. He even pleaded with the renters to reconsider financial dues and reduce rents, as to allow these restaurants to continue operating in light of the crisis and prevent the vacancy of these locations.
The Syndicate headquarters, located in Ain Mreisseh, issued the following statement: “Officials, be responsible at least once!” The Syndicate directed this request to the politicians who, as per the statement, are in denial of the state’s situation.
The Syndicate claims now that 265 have closed their establishments within two months. It also expects that if the current situation continues another 200 will shut down this month. The owners are worried due to the situation conflicting the country, adding that the festive season is around the corner, and hence their long-awaited profitable month is in danger.
The Syndicate is worried that the situation will worsen in the next few months, stating that these problems started way before the revolution. Thus, it is necessary that quick steps be taken to save this sector that is now on its last breaths.
This is not happening only in one place, but all over Lebanon. It is not only related to restaurants and cafés, it includes also shops, businesses, and many others. Sadly, the ‘position of denial of the state” persists.