Arabs seem to have limited their own tourism and investments related to it by calling their touristic attractions ‘summer resorts’ and limited their usage to only two months (July and August) instead of all year long as Cyprus does, for instance.
Has any of us heard about describing resorts in Cannes in France, in the Italian Riviera or the Spanish Costa del Sol as ‘summer resorts’? The mountains in Lebanon and Syria, Egyptian coasts and resorts in Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Algeria therefore have to be promoted all year long as ‘rivers’ of endless infinite resources for the people that should not be done away with! During a meeting with the Palestinian President Abu Mazen in winter years ago in Ramallah, I told him that if they opened the West Bank and Gaza for GCC tourism, they would make billions and solve the problem of unemployment because they have four advantages compared to their neighbors.
The first advantage is that, unlike its neighbors, Ramallah’s markets and restaurants are full of customers all year long. The second is that they never suffer from blackouts.
The third is that winter is not as severe as that of its neighbors and the fourth is that traffic is more disciplined and almost resembles that in Europe. Unfortunately, there are many repeated bad experiences in this regard at Beirut International Airport that seems to be governed by a politician who religiously believes that tourism is a satanic sin that ought to be avoided, while another believes that tourism serves the interests of his opponents.
Therefore Rafiq Al-Hariri Airport has turned into the world’s worst touristic airport starting with deliberate unjustified delays by passport officials to arriving passengers and ending with unjustified security problems for departing ones, which makes tourists swear never to return to Lebanon.
Notably, the total arrival and departure traffic at Beirut airport in a week is much less than that of Dubai airport in an hour! Finally, electing general Michel Aoun as president would mean destroying what is left of tourism because he believes that it only serves the interests of Hariri, Jumblatt, Geagea and Gamayel, and thus he would support the delays and impediments practiced at Beirut airport and turn it from the world’s worst airport into the worst ever in history!
—Translated by Kuwait Times
By Sami Al-Nisf