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Minister of tourism to focus on domestic tourism, Bristol and Alexander hotels shut down

12-5-2020

The minister of tourism and social affairs, Ramzi Msharafieh, disclosed yesterday that the tourism industry has been going downhill since before the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. He revealed a plan to be launched soon and that focuses on revitalizing the sector internally instead of relying on the outside, stressing the need to contemplate novel ideas to supplement the wavering of taxes and the reduction of interests. Msharafieh explained that the global economies have witnessed a drastic downturn, suggesting, “we should be working on motivating domestic tourism,”. Lebanon should not expect help from outside amidst this global economic crisis, he said, adding, “cash infusion will result in unwanted debts which our children will bear.” Cooperation and sacrifice is needed to ride out the crisis at the lowest possible cost, Msharafieh said. On the same hand, a report published by ‘Ernst & Young’ on the performance of four and five star hotels in the Middle East, indicated a fall in the rate of occupancy by 68.9% in Beirut annually reaching nearly 10% during the month of March, 2020. The report also pointed to a decline in the average rate of rooms by 34.3% annually to USD 122, in addition to a shrinkage in the size of revenues generated by available rooms at a rate of 91.6% down to USD 12. Furthermore, and in related vain, the prestigious "Bristol Hotel" located in Hamra district announced on April 17 its permanent closure, while also the long-established Alexander Hotel located in Ashrafieh took on 2 May a similar decision. (An Nahar, Al Diyar, May 12, 2020)

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