50 days of discounts to revive Lebanon tourism: Abboud

Prime Minister Najib Mikati chairs the first meeting of the Lebanese Council of Promotions at the Grand Serail on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. (The Daily Star/DalatiNohra)

BEIRUT: In 2013 Lebanon can expect 50 days of discounts on airline tickets, at hotels and shopping centers as part of a bid to revive the country’s tourism sector after months of stagnation, the country’s tourism minister announced Tuesday.

"We had our first meeting of the Lebanese Council for Promotions and decided to launch 50 days of discounts in Lebanon starting Jan. 8 until Feb. 18, including discounts on airlines tickets, hotels, car rentals as well as at restaurants and shopping centers,” Fadi Abboud told reports at the Grand Serail.

His remarks came after a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

The meeting was attended by Nada Sardouk, the director general of the Tourism Ministry, Wafiq Rahimi, the director general of the Foreign Ministry, Middle East Airlines Chairman Mohammad Hout and the head of the hotel owners' association Pierre Ashkar, among others.

Abboud said that during the 50-day period discounts would reach up to 50 percent in some instances and that there would also be “very special prices” on offer.

He expressed his hopes that the measures would help “bring back the beautiful life to Lebanon.”

Regional turmoil, particularly the conflict in Syria, has served a heavy blow to Lebanon’s tourism sector, with restaurants closing down and tourism firms including hotels amassing losses.

In addition, several countries of the Gulf Corporation Council issued earlier this year travel advisories to their citizens, urging them to refrain from traveling to Lebanon over security concerns.

Speaking to reporters, Abboud also urged politicians to tone down their rhetoric during the 50-day period.

“We ask politicians to give us a break of 50 days for the sake of the tourism sector's success as we ask for a 50 days of love and peace,” the minister said.

He added that MEA would be offering travel packages that include hotel reservations at “unprecedented prices in Lebanon.”





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