Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Lebanon hopes UN force can boost tourism

Fascinating to see the little economy that the UNIFIL has created in Lebanon. A total of $120 million a year at least for south Lebanon.

By Yara Bayoumy
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon will lose about $2 billion in tourism revenues this year due to a month-long war but the tourism minister is hoping a 15,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force will help revitalise the industry.
A U.N. resolution that ended 34 days of fighting between Israel and Hizbollah last month called for beefing up UNIFIL, a 2,000-strong U.N. force in south Lebanon, with up to 13,000 extra peacekeepers from various countries.
Tourism Minister Joseph Sarkis is counting on parents, other relatives and friends of the troops to boost visitor numbers.
"We are now preparing a sort of campaign in these countries, to show that Lebanon, the country where their children have come for a peaceful mission, is also a beautiful country, it has an image that is not only war and destruction," he told Reuters.
Sarkis, who said he expects around $10 million a month in revenues from UNIFIL soldiers' personal expenditure in southern Lebanon, was already receiving requests for license permits to open restaurants, clubs and coffee shops in the area.
"When they have their leave, they go to enjoy a glass of beer or lunch or dinner," Sarkis said, adding that the figure did not include army expenditure on rent or fuel.
Sarkis had been expecting $4 billion in revenues from tourists' expenditure and investment in tourism projects but said "we will probably lose around $2 billion because of ... war in Lebanon".
Sarkis said he had been expecting over 1.6 million tourists to visit Lebanon this year and on the eve of July 12, around 730,000 tourists had already come to the country.
But Hizbollah's capture of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12 sparked a war in which Israeli air strikes caused $3.6 billion in damage to bricks and mortar. It came at the height of Lebanon's summer tourist season.
"The tourists came and on the 12th of July, they received bombs on their heads and they were obliged to escape in a very humiliating way," he said.
Sarkis said he expected 300,000-350,000 tourists in the four months to December, providing stability continues and improves.
In 2005, tourism was hit by the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri and other high-profile political killings. With arrivals to Lebanon 24 percent higher in the first half of 2006 than even in 2004, Lebanese foresaw a major recovery but the war made it impossible.
"I would say the main thing that has been damaged is confidence in the country. I say it's easier to rebuild a bridge than to rebuild confidence in a country," Sarkis said. "Tourism needs stability, if there is no stability there is no tourism."
But seasonal festivities, including the Eid al-Fitr Muslim feast in late October, should help the recovery, he said.
Forty percent of tourists to Lebanon are Arabs and Sarkis said "many hotels, travel agencies and car rentals are informing us they've started receiving bookings from now for the Eid period which shows it's a good thing".


Blogger HCB said...

I really think, mrtez, it would be a good idea to hire Israel's ad company to put Lebanon on as part of the "ultimate mission" tour. That is, when those tourists have seen the Hamas "terrorist" trial and have had the IDF briefing and jeep ride, then they could tour Beirut and southern lebanon to see how well their tax dollars and donations have been spent. See, for instance, how many buildings per bomb were destroyed and how many cluster bombs it takes to kill, say, 100 people. That way they'd know why so many more have to be bough.

And, of course, Lebanon could have its own campaign along the lines of, "THAT is not the 'ultimate mission' - don't spend your time in a dusty courtroom or a bumpy jeep ride - come see the actual buildings that were blown up and the graves of the kids that were killed. See an actual Hizbollah house that no longer exists."

A real ad company could do much better, of course.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Sure Stains, your's works too. As for touism..... well you guys get lots of people in from Iran and Sryia, what more do you want. Those are your real buddies, oh wait they don't spend money they just get your world shot up. Another little country trying to get dollars for arms via morons wanting to see a place of shame.

1:01 AM  
Blogger duckforcover said...

You'd think tourism would pick up some, I can't imagine Israel over-stepping again with UN troops in between this time. Now, granted, the UN may be a lame-duck, but with other countries troops wearing those uniforms, Israel would find itself waist deep if it (pardon the language) F*cked with too many at once you know?

8:10 AM  
Blogger Mr Wrath said...

The fact the people of Lebanon so strongly support Hezbollah and wish to keep them armed will cripple tourism for some time to come.

Hezbollah brought you the latest Israel/Lebanon conflict, and next they will bring the civil war back to Lebanon....the kidnapping should start soon.

9:08 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

by whom? I wasn't aware Israel had stopped. By the way, applying the Israeli logic, would it be "wrong" for Hizbollah to assassinate the chiefs of the IDF and IAF?

12:43 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Wow Stains is your private room slow or something? Why don't you go back there and leave us alone today. Well we could be so lucky to have you die but then again we can only dream of the day that your breath ends. One day my dream will come true and me being so much younger I'll see you dead before me.

1:24 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

And don't flatter yourself, it's not a threat just that nature always takes care of people like you.

1:26 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Oh ya and Coward oh I mean Stains, the leaders of the IDF and IAF are in public open figures and can be trageted like any normal Militray or officail figure.

Those cowards hide like scared little Howards. Oh ya, just like you.

1:34 AM  
Blogger Mr Wrath said...

HCB, can't you almost see it coming? Hezbollah gathered 100,000+ people in a show of power in my opinion, and they refuse to disarm, then the Christians followed up with a rally of their own..

When people start gathering in massive rallies based on religion, and are armed (hezbollah) during a period when sectarian violence is everywhere else in the world...even the pope is into it, and some Islamics killed a nun or two...

It's coming. I think if the Christians and Sunnis get into it with Hezbollah and the Shiites, then Israel will probably jump back in full force on the Christian side maybe??

I am an agnostic, so being no particular religion, you can imagine how stupid it all seems to me.

At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, I am quite glad right now there are so few Islamic people living here in the U.S., because I am sure the "holy war" would be starting up here a bit more as well. The fact they are so immensely outnumbered here is the only thing stopping them from starting sectarian violence here in my opinion.

It almost seems like those Islamic believers who feel Islam should be the only way, and that their destiny is to wipe out all other religions....feel their time is now.

3:16 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Unfortunately, Mr Wrath, I agree - not completely - but to a large degree. I do not condemn nor fear "Islamics" because I don't think it's Islam that's behind the coming violence. I blame the fools on both sides for creating the situation and letting it spiral out of control.

It has nothing to do with God or Mohammed or any other diety - "religion" is simply a catchword that's convenient. On one side are a lot of crazy people who have no hope being led by crazy people who enjoy wielding poswer. On the other are fearful people being led by crazy people who enjoy wielding power.

On the one side, there is no pretense about "winning" - all that has to be done to be successful is to prevent the other side from "winning" while keeping it afraid, spending a huge fortune and dollars and untold lives. And, by the way, destroying its democratic institutions from the inside.

On the other side, there is enormous pressure to "win" while having no real idea what that means - other than killing every "Islamic - Fascist."

What it comes down to is a kind of sport - at least for the "terrorists." In the US, the way out of the ghetto used to be through the gym and into pro boxing. Now the fantasy is to become an NFL or ABA star. In the Muslim world, the way out of the ghetto is to become a "martyr." So, lots of impressionable kids sign up and are more than willing to blow themselves up for an "ideal" that they themselves probably don't understand. What they DO know is they are heroes who have answered the call by their people - same as American soldiers.

Until Israel and the US recognize the fundamental facts of the matter - that hopeless people will do apparently crazy things in the hope of something better - we are doomed to continue the "holy wars" forever.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

MW, HCB...

I am an agnostic as well, so you can appreciate my alarm over growing Christian fanaticism even in our own country. One thing being highlighted right now is the "Jesus Camp" where children are being trained to be holy warriors for Christ. It is truly frightening, and absolutely no better than Muslims who do the same thing. I think it's only a matter of time until we start seeing some of these people bombing building (ala Timothy McVeigh) or strapping a bomb onto themselves and taking one for the team.

Hmmm... I wonder if Sam would volunteer...

4:48 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

How come people can only bring up one person like Timmy? Oh ya becasue there is only one. To even bring him into any comparison about Islam is just plain stupid. these wkack jobs kill more people in one week than a White/Christian group has in 60 years and I say 60 just for the 2nd world war to passify some of you idiots.

I wouldn't sign up to a relig kill group, I would for branch of Us service. then you get to kill some towles free of charge.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Oh Rick, I see your back from the dead. To bad I was hoping it would cause death or at least great pain.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

and you would stick to you own blog site and leave the rest of the world alone.

Whats wrong not enough people coming to your "I Love Rick Page"?

10:52 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

What's wrong, Sammy? Did my response to you hit too close to home?

Sammy, go back a couple of threads ("Patrolling the Sea")...let's hear your brilliant response to my posting.

12:21 AM  
Blogger Bryansaid said...

Part of a farewell speech that Tony Blair gave to his Labor Party.
And of course, the new anxiety is the global struggle against terrorism without mercy or limit.

This is a struggle that will last a generation and more.

But this I believe passionately: we will not win until we shake ourselves free of the wretched capitulation to the propaganda of the enemy, that somehow we are the ones responsible.

This terrorism isn't our fault.

We didn't cause it.

It's not the consequence of foreign policy.

It's an attack on our way of life.

It's global.

It has an ideology.

It killed nearly 3,000 people including over 60 British on the streets of New York before war in Afghanistan or Iraq was even thought of.

It has been decades growing.

Its victims are in Egypt, Algeria, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Turkey.

Over 30 nations in the world.

It preys on every conflict.

It exploits every grievance.

And its victims are mainly Muslim.

This is not our war against Islam.

This is a war fought by extremists who pervert the true faith of Islam.

And all of us, Western and Arab, Christian or Muslim, who put the value of tolerance, respect and peaceful co-existence above those of sectarian hatred, should join together to defeat them.

It is not British soldiers who are sending car bombs into Baghdad or Kabul to slaughter the innocent.

They are there along with troops of 30 other nations with, in each case, a full UN mandate at the specific request of the first ever democratically elected Governments of those countries in order to protect them against the very ideology also seeking the deaths of British people in planes across the Atlantic.

If we retreat now, hand Iraq over to Al Qaeda and sectarian death squads and Afghanistan back to Al Qaeda and the Taleban, we won't be safer; we will be committing a craven act of surrender that will put our future security in the deepest peril.

Of course it's tough.

Not a day goes by or an hour in the day when I don't reflect on our troops with admiration and thanks - the finest, the best, the bravest, any nation could hope for.

They are not fighting in vain.

But for this nation's future.

But this is not a conventional war.

It can't be won by force alone.

It's not a clash of civilisations.

It's about civilisation, about the ideas that shape it.

From 9/11 until now I have said again and again.

If we want our values to be the ones that govern global change, we have to show that they are fair, just and delivered with an even hand.

From now until I leave office I will dedicate myself, with the same commitment I have given to Northern Ireland , to advancing peace between Israel and Palestine.

I may not succeed.

But I will try because peace in the Middle East is a defeat for terrorism.

We must never again let Lebanon become the battleground for a conflict that neither Israeli or Lebanese people wanted though it was they who paid the price for it.

Peace in Lebanon is a defeat for terrorism.

Action in Africa is a defeat for terrorism.

What is happening now in the Sudan cannot stand.

If this were in the continent of Europe we would act.

Showing an African life is worth as much as a Western one - that would help defeat terrorism too.

Yes it's hard sometimes to be America's strongest ally.

Yes, Europe can be a political headache for a proud sovereign nation like Britain.

But believe me there are no half-hearted allies of America today and no semi-detached partners in Europe.

And the truth is that nothing we strive for, from the world trade talks to global warming, to terrorism and Palestine can be solved without America, or without Europe.

4:17 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Great words... too bad he hitched his wagon to Dubya's ponies...

4:59 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Nope Rick, you and Sains are worthless is all. Why go back and read what you post, you and Stains are coawrds to the core. Cowrad was a US traitor in the nam war and you would have been draft dodger if you were old enough to inlist. Instead you play with little kids and are a rapist of the young. You're just scum, I feel pitty for your children. To live and learn in a house that is run by a child molester. Did Stains teach you or is it from your daddy too? Hopefully your kids trun out normal but most likely they'll do it to their kids too. So the little Rciky cycle continues.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

But I was right too, now one is visiting your love me page, I checked and the only site with fewer posts is Stains.

5:13 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

You see the trouble with being kind, Rick. For so many years I felt sorry for the homeless - especially the homeless pigs who eke out a living renting themselves to the homeless boars. And then, when the pig is pregnant, it goes to the dumpster to spawn something like the idiot child we have to put up with here. Mother's milk is polluted with all the garbage eaten for so long so it doesn't matter the idiot child simply slurps from the bottom of the dumpster. The idiot pig child's brain doesn't develop and the cycle repeats itself.

Now we can see why homeless women ought to be sterilized - we could cut down on the idiot spawn like our idiot child. It might not be the kindest thing to do but it would certainly reduce the load on the rest of the world. And, idiot children would not be faced with the responsibility of growing up.

Not much going on in the "war" now. I hope all is well with you and yours.

5:29 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Oh - forgot to mention, idiot pig child, I know how much you enjoy writing something that makes no sense and then sitting back while you drool and wait for a response. Like I said before, I'll respond or mention you when it feels good to me. I very much enjoy watching you scurry around trying to bait responses with your imagined insults. Especially when you get frantic and start writing three or four or five times in rapid succession. It's fun watching what the rotted cabbage and sour mother's milk did to your little birth brain. You learned to suck and drool and parrot what you think are insults. Now - idiot pig child - see what you can say. See if you can string five or six words together to make a sentence. And then, for a real challenge, see if you can do TWO sentences that relate to each other.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Oh Stains is on the move, you can tell when he's a bit bent becasue he add's a ne wname. Cool Stains, trying to be a man. Keep trying and maybe one day you'll make that loser you called a father proud. Oh ya he's dead as dead gets. Maybe you'll make someone proud. You're just a cowardly fool thats all.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Here's one sentenace Stains, you and your family are scum sucking rat batstards and I wish the worst on them as well as you.

7:40 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Time to get a warm up on my coffee, it's ggod its Friday. Time to go fishing!

7:41 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Pretty sad Rick, post a link to your “I love me” page in and effort to get people to go to your site. Sad truly sad, I bet Stain is there with you. Chatting about your next little conquest and so on, you guys are jokes. When people don’t come and play in your little world you come here and try to lour people back into your little love site. Coward has no posts, no blogs and no life.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Sam, do pray that we never meet. Any allegations about myself and my children is beneath contempt and decency, and would not go unresponded to. But imagine such disgust coming from you. Par for the course.

HCB...hope you are well also. Not much with the war, but lots with the US on the path to becoming a facist nation. This Administration continues to stoop lower and lower each day, kinda like Sammy.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Bryansaid said...

Rick, I don't think he supoorts Bush as much as supporting the U.S. What he said is 100% ture and its not his fault Bush is the President, its ours as Americans. That is something that I hope will be solved after 2008, if Bush and Rummy don't screw to much up till then!

2:19 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Bryan, that has little to do with child molestation comments. Sam is sick, very sick.

And yes, he does support Bush. He has posted that plenty of times. There are plenty of followers just like Sam in the country, which is the only reason why weak people like Bush, Cheney and Rummy even hold power. And none of them can even see that we are now in danger of becoming a dictatorship, as elections are stolen, freedoms are lost, and rights are violated.

And I hope it will be solved this year in 2006... with clean elections the Republicans lose Congress, and an impeachment will be the next step. This entire Administration is completely corrupt.

6:23 AM  
Blogger Bryansaid said...


Opps, sorry Rick I think you misunderstood me, I am talking about Tony Blair not Sam.

2:38 PM  
Blogger M2Timechange said...

This inner conscience is what tells the state of the heart of the individual, whether it is alive seeking the truth, or dead, filled with the desires of this worldly life. Lack of religiosity and indulging in sin caused a person to lose one’s conscience, and it can no longer be used as a source of guidance.

“…why then did they not believe with humility? But their hearts became hardened, and Satan made fair seeming to them that which they used to do.”

“Have they not traversed through the land, and have they heart with which they perceive, or ears with which they hear? Indeed it is not the sight which is blinded, but rather what is blinded is the hearts which are in the breasts.”

8:28 PM  
Blogger M2Timechange said...

The heart can be used as a guide, in conjunction with the intellect and revelation, in order to ease the search for the truth. The heart of one who is searching for the truth is indeed one which is alive, for it is this life and yearning which causes them to search for it. This type of person will never find peace at heart in any other religion except the religion which God ordained for humanity, and as long as their yearning for the truth exists, their conscience will continue to bother them until they find the true religion of God. Indeed if the person is sincere, God will guide them to the truth:

8:35 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Ah Bryan...the earlier conversation... gotcha. Yes, I think you are right, but I think he was just so eager to appear to be a strong ally to the United States that he didn't realize who he was dealing with. By the time he did, it was too late.

3:35 AM  

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