Pierre Achkar, Chairman of the Syndicate of Hotels Owners, said: “Touristic institutions launched several offers and reduced their prices early last year to attract low-budget tourists. There was a response to these offers and occupancy rates increased, but revenues decreased.”
Jean Abboud, Chairman of the Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies, said that Syrians who were leaving via Beirut airport represented between 2011 and 2015 around 35 percent of travel agencies revenues. Revenues were $610 million last year, which was a decrease for this demographic.
WTTC expects travel and tourism to grow six percent per annum over the next ten years, reaching $6 billion, and representing around nine percent of GDP.
Achkar said: “We are relying on Gulf tourists this year, after enhancing relations with them.”
Abboud said that the market witnessed seven percent increase in the first three months of the year, and is expected to continue at this pace.
The total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP, including wider effects from investment and the supply chain, was $9.2 billion last year, representing around 19 percent of GDP.
Travel and tourism directly supports 123,000 jobs, accounting for seven percent of total employment. Total contribution (direct and indirect) of travel and tourism supported 338,500 jobs.
According to the WTTC, foreign visitors generated seven billion dollars in 2016.
Travel spending in the leisure segment generated 91 percent of the direct contribution of travel and tourism to GDP last year, accounting for $7.4 billion, compared with nine percent for business travel spending.
According to the WTTC, travel and tourism attracted capital investment of around $1.2 billion last year. This is expected to rise 4.2 percent in 2017.
Achkar said that increasing demand will definitely push stakeholders to invest in new restaurants, hotels, and furnished apartments.