Lebanese hotel owners warn sector facing bankruptcy

The Riviera Hotel is seen in Beirut, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: The Syndicate of Hotel Owners in Lebanon Thursday deplored the dramatic drop in tourism that has resulted from political instability and insecurity, warning that the persisting decline was forcing many hotels toward bankruptcy and closure.

The Syndicate declared in a statement that the “hotels are in danger” of closing down and filing for bankruptcy in light of the deteriorating situation in the country and the region, which has reflected negatively on the tourism sector as a whole.

The hotel owners also called on the government to lift entry taxes to facilitate the travel of tourists through Rafik Hariri Airport, as the Syrian conflict next door has deprived the sector from tourist groups who would normally travel to Lebanon by land from Jordan, Iran and Syria.

The statement said the Syndicate was in the process of preparing a petition to be handed to the government and the Parliament, listing demands to help them overcome the crisis.

Among the Syndicate’s demands was reducing municipality and income taxes imposed on hotels, exempting hotels from overdue payments to the National Social Security Fund and reactivating the National Council for Tourism, the statement said.

The Tourism sector in Lebanon has been an important contributor to the local economy, representing a major source of income and employment.

But travel bans by Arab Gulf countries prompted by political and regional instability have served a painful blow to the sector in the past few years.





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