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Lebanon’s tourism minister hails $9bn revenues

Walid Nassar said Lebanon was focusing on ecological, religious and rural tourism drives Dalati Nohra/Handout via Reuters
Walid Nassar said Lebanon was focusing on ecological, religious and rural tourism drives
  • Walid Nassar says government is not dependent on IMF funding
  • Private sector playing pivotal role in rebuilding economy

Lebanon is not relying on International Monetary Fund cash to stay afloat, a government minister has told AGBI, as the tourism sector alone contributed $9 billion in revenue last year. 

The IMF reached a staff-level agreement with Lebanon in April 2022 for a $3 billion loan programme to tackle its financial crisis. But progress on the deal has stalled in recent months, sparking concern from the IMF and the US State Department.  

However, speaking on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market on Monday, tourism minister Walid Nassar said: “The negotiation with the IMF is still ongoing, but honestly, we are not relying on them to get this $3 billion.

“For us, the IMF fund is a trust that the international community is giving to Lebanon to facilitate any kind of help or contribution in the future.”

The four-year IMF deal would only be approved if the country enacted a package of divisive financial reforms, which have not gone ahead.

Nassar said work to restore Lebanon’s economic stability was continuing, with the private sector playing a pivotal role. “Without the private sector Lebanon can’t move as a government,” he said.  

The minister added that Lebanon was focusing on a mix of ecological, religious and rural tourism drives to attract visitors throughout the year. 

“This summer, the Ministry of Tourism is organising 82 events in three months – one event per day,” he said.

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