The Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. (The Daily Star/Khalil Hassan)
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Despite the political stalemate in the country, most of Beirut's hotels have started feeling the joyful spirit of Christmas and New Year's Eve, with many witnessing a high rate of bookings while others expect reservations to pick up soon.Saade explained that last year his hotel was able to register 100 percent occupancy during the last two nights of the year, but this year it is different because New Year's Day falls on a Wednesday and people are encouraged to come and spend a long weekend in Lebanon.Ayman Nasser, sales manager at Hotel Le Cavalier, said that unlike in previous years, bookings at his hotel started two weeks ago.Mouawie said that occupancy at the Riviera for the time being stood at around 40 percent.In 2014, however, the latest figures released by the Tourism Ministry show that the tourism sector posted a 4.2 percent increase of tourists over the first nine months compared to the same period last year, crossing the 1 million mark and reaching a total of 1,081,541 visitors, according to Bank Audi's Lebanon Economic Report.
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