UAE set to lift travel ban on Lebanon ‘soon’

The United Arab Emirates will lift a years-long travel ban on Lebanon, a move that could revive the embattled country’s vital tourism sector.

Visiting UAE Ambassador to Lebanon Hamad Al Shamsi said the ban would end soon, according to Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency.

Al Shamsi, who met with Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, said a team from his country’s civil aviation authority is discussing technical issues with Lebanese counterparts.

Gulf countries first advised their citizens against traveling to Lebanon two years after the crisis in neighboring Syria erupted in 2011.

The war there sent millions of refugees into Lebanon and further unsettled an already volatile security situation.

Before the war broke out, tourism accounted for 29 percent of gross domestic product.

Now it represents about 18 percent, with Gulf tourists accounting for 30 percent of consumption in the peak June to October period.

Saudi Arabia was the first Gulf nation to scrap its travel advisory, lifting it in February.

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