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Lebanon's tourism expected to take a dive as violence errupts

14 July 2006

Lebanon's up-and-coming tourism trade has been decimated by the escalating violence in the Middle East as Israel retaliates against Hezbollah's kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers.

Latest reports show that visitors who had been holidaying in Beirut are being evacuated, despite the fact that the city's Rafik Hariri international airport was bombed last night by Israeli fighter jets.

This means that tourists are being evacuated to the Syrian border and into Damascus by road.

A tourism consultant in Lebanon, who wished to remain anonymous, has reported a massive exodus is now occurring and the road out to Damascus was bumper-to-bumper.

Tourism had been one of the major economic drivers in Lebanon, with 400,000 travellers already having visited the country this year alone.

A further 1.1 million visitors were predicted to have come during the remainder of 2006 but the country is now expected lose around $1.5b (£814m) in potential tourism revenue this year

Dubai takes lead in Arab hotel expansion efforts >>

By Emily Manson

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