Pierre Achkar, the President of the Lebanese Hotel Association, issued a distress call to rescue the tourism sector from an imminent disaster due to the catastrophic outcomes that the 2024 budget will inflict on tourism and the national economy.
Achkar stated in a release: “The tourism sector was devastated by the pandemic and the Beirut Port explosion. With self-capabilities and resources, it managed to recover without assistance from the state, banks, or loans.”
“On the contrary, it expanded and flourished, as evidenced by Lebanon becoming a distinctive tourist destination in the region during the summer of 2023,” he said.
He added that the war in Gaza and the events in southern Lebanon resulted in the cancellation of all reservations and the undoing of all the efforts made by the private sector to put Lebanon back on the global tourism map.
Affirming that the prolonged duration of the war will lead to disasters in tourism and various economic sectors.
He continued: “Where was the state when the people in the tourism sector were struggling, investing, and rebuilding what was destroyed? All it did was prepare a budget without economic vision and without reforms—a disastrous and destructive budget for what remains of legitimate institutions and the economy.”
In the same context, Achkar accused the government of imposing new individual taxes to push them towards stumbling. “In doing so, it hinders investment, growth, job opportunities, and encourages companies to engage in illegitimate activities in an ‘informal’ economy, meaning not declaring or paying taxes.”