With the measures taken to ease lockdown restrictions, and shifting to a gradual normalization, Lebanon started breathing a sigh of relief. Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport is currently operating at 30 percent of it capacity, and it is likely to reach 40 percent thanks to the global vaccination drive and the ease of restrictions.
The Head of Rafic Hariri International Airport, Fadi Al Hassan, told Sawt Beirut International (SBI) reporter, Ghida Jbeili, “The majority of visitors are from Iraq, mainly Baghdad, who are coming for tourism and hospitalization reasons. Visitors from Dubai and Turkey are also of high numbers coming either for business or tourism.”
Al Hassan said: “The airport plays a major role in rebounding the economic activity, especially amid the unprecedented circumstances the country is going through.” Almost 5,000 passengers are arriving to Lebanon daily, and certainly, their spending in fresh dollars revitalizes the economy, he said.
Al Hassan hoped that Covid-19 infections will remain nosediving in the coming months, in order to improve the touristic activity, and the number of passengers arriving, as this will help revive the economy.
Airlines have submitted requests to obtain additional flights in the coming months, which indicates that there is real demand for inbound and outbound travel. All passengers arriving to Beirut Airport are required to examine a PCR test at the airport. Al Hassan said that new procedures will be announced in the coming days for visitors from Brazil and India, which is mainly being for 14 days in other countries. A circular will be issued regarding the Lebanese coming from Brazil, were they are required to sit in a local hotel, instead of quarantining 14 days in another country. The Ministry of Public Health will select the hotels that can host the expatriates for 5 days or 4 nights, during which they undergo a covid-19 examination before completing the quarantine period.”
Once again, Lebanon proves that it is able to overcome the crisis like the phoenix. Arab tourists and expatriates play a major role in stimulating the tourism sector with the fresh dollars that they are spending, and saving the collapsing economy.