Spill over of the civil war from Syrian into Lebanon to impact the economy, including luxury industry
Following the kidnapping of over 30 people in Lebanon in the past week has already prompted GCC countries to warm against travel to Lebanon. And it is widely known that foreign travellers from the GCC account for at aleast 50% of the turnover of the luxury market in Lebanon, both hospitality and retail, the capital of Beirut being known for its nightlife, restaurants and a more lax islamic culture.
The street battles which have errupted on the streets of Beirut and Tripoli have been escalating and it seems a matter of days till Lebanon is dragged into Syria civil war. There have already been deaths and their is a somber and anxious general mood, the current scenes reminding locals and visitors of the one year war with Israel in 1996. The political power has been weak in reaction and the reaction of the army has not been as firm as many Lebanese expect it.
Lebanon ‘s revival as a tourism destination is now threatened and hotels are reported to receive last minute cancellation, especially at such a busy period, the end of Ramadan and high season. Without the GCC travellers, CPP predicts sales at most luxury stores (fashion, watches, jewellery, shoes) will see a gradual drop in sales, as the conflict deepens. Once again, this will indirecly have a positive impact on Dubai, which will reign as THE region’s capital of shopping and entertainment.