Tourists’ spending in Lebanon increased by almost two percent in Q1 2018 compared to Q1 2017, revealed Global Blue’s Globe Shopper Spending Insights – Lebanon report for Q1 2018.
The number of refund transactions increased by almost five percent.
According to Joe Yacoub, Lebanon managing director of Global Blue, the country was deprived from the expenditures of GCC tourists, who lessened their spending in Q1 2018 versus previous years, though still led by Emiratis, Saudis, and Kuwaitis. However, Syrian shoppers, who represent 10 percent of the total spending did cover the difference, Yacoub said.
“More Syrians are coming for shopping in Lebanon, which resulted in a 63 percent increase in the number of refund forms and 116 percent growth in spending. Consequently it increased the total number of refund forms by almost five percent, and the total sales in store by 1.6 percent,” he said. Those Syrians belong to upper social classes and have stronger purchasing power, and are known as the ‘Globe shoppers’, Yacoub said.
In terms of the regions, Baabda has witnessed a growth peak as a shopping destination, attracting almost 12 percent more spenders, mainly towards Majid Al Futtaim’s City Center Beirut.
When it comes to the coming months, Yacoub links their performance to GCC tourists’ visits to Lebanon. “It all depends on Fitr holidays in June. If the Gulf countries’ tourists come back to spend their holidays in Beirut, then it will have a positive impact for the summer,” he said.