The economic crisis in Lebanon is escalating and affecting all sectors severely even the car rental sector. Abdallah Kaadi, owner of a car rental agency told “Sawt Beirut International” correspondent Ibrahim Fatfat, “We are waiting for the touristic season eagerly, as currently our business depends on local customers solely.”
Kaadi added that many car rental agency owners were forced to sell part of their fleet to surpass the crisis, as they aren’t able to repay their installments to the banks. He hoped that the summer season will bring more demand from tourists, which will contribute in improving the situation.
“We witnessed an unprecedented drop in demand in the last two years, whereby the cars require maintenance, and additionally we have to repay installments to the banks.”
Kaadi said that the tourism sector has been suffering in the last years due to several reasons, mainly the devaluation.
He added, however, the Port of Beirut blast has led to a slight increase in demand for rental cars. Kaadi attributed this, to the slight demand coming from people whose cars have been damaged by the blast. “We tried to make it affordable for them as much as we can,” he added.
The situation will worsen in the coming future, especially after lifting subsidies on fuel. “This will negatively impact our business, and car rental will be limited to tourists or expatriates who are able to spend in fresh dollars.”
“Some of the clients resort to car rentals because they are not able to fix their vehicles or maintain it. Renting a car remains more affordable currently than fixing a car,” Kaadi said. Regarding the car penalties, Kaadi said that they have communicated with the judiciary, so customers will bear the burdens, and not agencies.
Kaadi added that, amid the absence of the state’s control, the phenomenon of renting private cars illegally have evolved during the last period.