Lebanon’s summer season constituted a lifeline for the country that has been stricken by an unprecedented economic and financial collapse since 2019. While reliance on the completion of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would extend the state’s finances by about $3 billion, the tourism sector was able during the past few months to secure around $5 billion to the economic cycle.
Minister of Tourism in the caretaker government Walid Nassar said that more than 1.5 million tourists visited Lebanon during the summer season, which continues until the end of September.
Those brought in around $4.5 billion, while the total amount is likely to reach $5 billion, according to the minister.
“Manis still active during the current month, and we are working to maintain it… during the fall season by supporting many autumn tourism activities,” Nassar told Asharq Al-Awsat.
He noted that the private sector benefited the most from the fresh dollars that entered the country, specifically the tourist establishments and all associated sectors.
In response to a question, Nassar stressed that the billions that have entered the country “do not at all dispense with the need for an agreement with the IMF.”
He explained: “An agreement of this kind is a moral and urgent necessity, as it allows us to deal with the international community.”
The minister continued: “This understanding constitutes a factor of confidence to obtain donors’ aid, especially as we need billions to secure electricity and [rehabilitate] the infrastructure and the public sector.”
Rafic Hariri International Airport recently announced that a further rise in passenger traffic was registered at the end of August. The number of passengers increased by about 35 percent compared to the same month last year, while the total number of passengers from the beginning of 2022 until the end of August rose by 58 percent compared to the same period in 2021.