The Lebanese Tourism Sector in Turmoil

The Lebanese Tourism Sector in Turmoil

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The Lebanese Federation for Tourism organized a gathering on Tuesday 25 August at noon, in Mar Mkhayel, in solidarity with all those who were affected by Beirut’s port explosion.

The economic situation has long been weighing heavily on the hospitality sector especially after the Beirut explosion. Things took a turn for the worse with the government’s decision to impose a two-week COVID-19 lockdown to stem a string of record daily infections.

In an emotionally charged speech, Tony Ramy, president of The Lebanese Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafés, Night-Clubs & Pastries, announced that the government’s arbitrary decision to close down, whether partially or fully, is irrelevant. He said: “We no longer recognize the state thus we will no longer adhere to their decisions nor pay them a single penny. The government has caused the tourism industry to lose around $1 billion, of which $315 million has been suffered by restaurants alone.”

Tony Ramy’s call for civil disobedience against the state came after the government’s total disregard for the good of the country.

In a sudden turn of events, the LFA and The Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafés, Night-Clubs & Pastries were left to stand alone. After the Lebanese Ministry of Interior threatened to take extreme measures against those who didn’t comply with the lockdown, the Syndicate of Hotel Owners and Beirut Traders Association backed down.

Tony Ramy’s restaurant Al Falamanki was forced to shut down after defying the lockdown.

The Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafés, Night-Clubs & Pastries held on Wednesday, August 26, 2020, a meeting with the Lebanese Committee for Preventive Measures and Procedures for COVID-19. The committee discussed their concerns and developed a plan to guide them through the next stage. Both parties agreed that they need to make sure that the suggested guidelines and procedures are implemented and monitored; action will be taken against violators.

After having visited the Minister of Health, the Minister of Interior Defense and Minister of Tourism, Tony Ramy urged his fellow stakeholders to abide by the COVID-19 safety guidelines for the good of the hospitality sector, stating that the consequences would be dire otherwise.

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