MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA. The 2017 MEADFA Conference will proceed as scheduled in Beirut this month despite Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation over an alleged assassination plot against him.
Hariri had been scheduled to address delegates on day one of the conference, which will take place on 20 and 21 November at the Phoenicia Hotel.
Lebanon Minister of Tourism H.E. Avedis Guidanian issued an official letter to MEADFA to reassure the organisation of its continued support of the event. He wrote: “The resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri has no impact on the security or the economic stability of the country. We reassure that all Lebanese parties are as attached to the country’s security and its stability. It is this desire that protects us today and makes our country a safe and stable destination.”
The organisation noted that Lebanese tourism had increased +12% in the last year, and was a favoured travel destination in the Middle East.
Nearly 400 delegates are confirmed to attend the conference, and the full speaker line-up was recently released.
MEADFA President Haitham AL Majali commented: “The MEADFA Board and myself are of course monitoring the situation in Lebanon closely, and we understand the need for clarity among those registered for the event.
“Given the apparent stability on the ground, the high level of security at the venue and the reassurances we have personally received from the Minister of Tourism, we continue to prepare for what we are confident will be a great opportunity for our industry in the Middle East and Africa to gather, exchange and debate.
“We are in constant contact with our partners in Beirut and will not hesitate to contact our delegates should the situation change. In the meantime we look forward to welcoming our industry to another enjoyable MEADFA Conference.”