Beirut: empty cafes, no more tourists

Fate of Lebanese economy hangs on national dialogue

GMT 12:53 2012 Saturday ,09 June

Arab Today, arab today Fate of Lebanese economy hangs on national dialogue

Hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops in Lebanon will witness a "black summer"
Beirut - Riad Chouman

Hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops in Lebanon will witness a "black summer" Recent instability in the Lebanese cities of Tripoli, Akkar, and Aarsal on the border with Syria, along with Beirut's violent past has cast a shadow on the country's economy, particularly trade and tourism in Beirut, and summer destinations in the mountains.The shaky security situation was topped by a warning by four Gulf states -- Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain -- for their citizens not to travel to Lebanon, dealing a strong blow to the summer tourist season and leaving tourist-dependent businesses in the dust.
The now unknown fate of these businesses is left to the government and financial authorities, according to trade unions of hotel and restaurant staff.
Analysts say the national dialogue due to take place in Baabda Palace on June 11 is crucial. If a resolution that maintains stability and security in the country is reached, it will open new opportunities to enhance the economy and revive Lebanon's summer tourist season.
If the meeting parties come up with nothing, things will only get worse.
Perhaps hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops in Lebanon will witness a "black summer" as a result of most reservations being cancelled, representing a dramatic reality to the Lebanese citizen whose financial resources are already dwindling amid an unprecedented high cost of living.
Walk along Hamra St in Beirut and the picture is harshly clear. Shops, cafes, and restaurants are almost empty, bereft of visitors as they are.
Business owners say it is due to the security situation in the country and also due to the crisis in neighbouring Syria. Some say sales have fallen by about 75 percent compared to last year which was also below expectations but was, at the same time, better than the current year. If these conditions are allowed to persist, the econmy will collapse.
Similar scenes are seen in Al Rawsha, which used to be crowded with Gulf and foreign visitors that mingled with the people of Beirut, filling its squares, Corniche and restaurants. The Corniche this year is empty except for a few who take walks along the promenade at dawn or sunset, but soon rush home once it gets dark for fear of their safety. Their pockets are empty anyway due to high prices, unemployment, and political speeches that warn of the worsening situation.
This is the case now in Beirut. The government and politicians have to rectify the matter before it’s too late.

Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
arabtoday arabtoday arabtoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabs, Arab, Arab