The Saudi ambassador to Lebanon, Walid Bukhari, has announced that Saudi Arabia removed the 15-month travel ban on Lebanon upon the formation of the Lebanese government.
This 15-month long travel ban was first imposed on Lebanon in November 2017 when Saudi Arabia called over its visiting citizens and residents to leave Lebanon due to, what they deemed, security incidents and unstable conditions.
This positive announcement was made after a meeting between Saudi royal court envoy, Nizar Aloula, and Prime Minister Saad Hariri along with Bukhari and other Lebanese officials at the Grand Serail.
The Saudi Foreign Minister then tweeted:
“Given the fact that the security reasons that prompted Saudi Arabia to warn its citizens against travelling to Lebanon no longer exist, and based on the assurances that the Kingdom received from the Lebanese government about the stability of the security situation, and its permanent keenness on the security of the Saudi citizens, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia lifts its warning to its citizens traveling to the Lebanon, whether from the Kingdom or from any other country”.
The Saudi decision is expected to be followed by similar decisions by other Arab Gulf states, like UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait that had issued similar warnings for their citizens.
These travel warning has been negatively affecting Lebanon’s tourism and the economic sector as the number of Gulf tourists in the country dropped due to the warning.
In an interview with Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3), the Lebanese tourism minister, Avedis Guidanian expected a significant increase in the number of Arab tourists after the government formation and the lifting of the travel ban on Saudi nationals, “the Ministry is preparing for this important return,” he said.