Britain advises against all but essential travel to Lebanon

Travel advice has been updated because of instability due to the country's continuing crises

A Lebanese Middle East Airlines plane on the tarmac at Beirut international airport. Photo: Reuters

Britain has advised against all but essential travel to Lebanon citing ongoing instability in a fresh blow to the country in the middle of a financial and economic meltdown.

The World Bank has said Lebanon is enduring one of the deepest depressions in modern history, compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic and a massive explosion at Beirut's port that destroyed large parts of the city.

The UK has long advised against all travel to Palestinian refugee camps, areas within five kilometres of the border with Syria and the Hermel area in the northeast.

But on Tuesday evening, the UK government's website was updated with the new advice for the rest of the country.

“The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advises against all but essential travel to the remaining areas of Lebanon due to ongoing instability,” it said.

The UK embassy had said in August that it had temporarily withdrawn some staff and their dependants from the crisis-hit country because of fuel shortages.

Lebanon's fuel crisis had caused prolonged power blackouts, violence at petrol stations and threatened the work of hospitals.

Tourism, historically a major component of Lebanon's economy, has dramatically declined since late 2019.

Lebanon's tourism minister recently unveiled a new slogan to attract travellers into the country, aiming to portray the precarity of life there as a point of pride. The phrase roughly translates as “I love you in your madness".

Updated: November 17, 2021, 8:21 AM