Over 700,000 Lebanese expats are expected to fly back to Lebanon for Christmas. This number was confirmed by the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism and it’s based on the large number of airline reservations.
Airline reservations have shown that the 700,000 Lebanese expats have started arrive on the 1st of December and will leave by the 10th of January. The last time the number of Lebanese expats returning home for Christmas was that high was in 1997, when 600,000 came to Lebanon.
Before you start panicking about all the downsides, those 700,000 Lebanese expats are expected to spend around $4 billion (USD) in Lebanon. If that doesn’t make you happy then maybe, for the sake of having some Christmas spirit, think that 700,000 people who were away from home for a while will finally get to celebrate Christmas with their family and friends.
Now that you’re in a better mood (hopefully), we can talk about all the downsides. Obviously, traffic is the biggest concern. Our infrastructure can barely handle the 4.5 million Lebanese (and roughly 2 million refugees).
Although many will most likely spend most of the time with their family in the rural areas of Lebanon, rather than in between the major cities. Another issue is the fear that Beirut’s Rafic Hariri Airport won’t be able to handle these many people coming within such a short duration.
This issue will be addressed as the Hotels Syndicate as well as the Minister of Tourism, Michel Faroun, said they will be expanding the inspection zones, passport inspections, luggage inspections as well as reservations.
Let’s be happy that more and more Lebanese people living abroad are feeling safe enough to come to Lebanon, spend time with their families and, yeah, spend $4 billion dollars in one month to stimulate our economy.