Dubai: A new travel destination has opened up to Emiratis, with many setting their eyes on Lebanon as the go-to place for a weekend getaway.
Following the decision issued by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to lift the travel ban and allow Emiratis to visit Lebanon, citizens expressed how this move will encourage tourists to flock to the city on the Levantine coast, known for its Roman ruins, exotic food and stunning scenery.
Nearly one million tourists have travelled to Lebanon in the first half of 2019 and almost 550,000 tourists during the second quarter, according to Lebanon’s Ministry of Tourism.
Europeans accounted for 331,000 of arrivals, while Arabs made up 297,000 of tourists, followed by Americans and Asians.
Accompanied with an extensive range of flights to choose from, Emiratis and Lebanese nationals said the lift of the travel ban will almost certinaly have a positive impact on the tourism industry in Lebanon.
Hiba Hani, 28-year-old Emirati, pointed out that Lebanese nationals are known for their hospitable personality, and would welcome Emiratis with open arms.
“I would definitely go, and will actually start planning my first trip to Lebanon now that the ban has been removed. I think there could be a substantial number of Emiratis who would be interested in going, especially since places like [Beirut] are trending as weekend getaways, like cheap airfare, sightseeing, and being located close to the UAE.”
Joy Sawaya, 28, from Lebanon, said: “I definitely think they would be keen to go back for many different reasons, such as the good food and the beautiful scenery. Lebanon has mountains and beaches, as well as great shopping and great hospitality. It is also not very expensive to have a good time. [Emiratis] will be received very well. Hospitality is generally great in Lebanon and people are always nice and helpful to tourists.”
Menna Fahmi, Emirati, 26, commented that more UAE nationals will be visiting the capital Beirut as a quick weekend escape from Dubai’s busy city life.
“I definitely think Emiratis will visit Lebanon, probably the same way they like going to Baku over the weekend. Lebanon isn’t far so it’ll be nice for a mini-weekend vacation; the reason being that Emiratis love to travel and they’ll jump at the opportunity to visit somewhere new over the weekend,” she said.