Dar Alma | Greg Demarque

Alternative lodging

Interest in authentic and traditional experiences has been growing over the past several years in Lebanon, as exemplified by the rise in the number of restaurants in traditionally designed homes or even by the number of people going on hikes in rural and rarely visited areas of the country. This trend can also be seen in

Greg Demarque

Surfin’ Lebanon

Located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea — however polluted they may be — and enjoying a summer season that stretches from mid May until the end of September, Lebanon’s coast is dotted with various beach options ranging from increasingly rare free spots to top end luxury beach spas. Where beachgoers choose to spend

hotel

Providing security for Lebanon’s top end hotels

With the summer season in full swing, it seems reasonable to ask if the level of security at Lebanon’s hotels is sufficient to continue attracting tourists during these uncertain times. A difficult and expensive undertaking Hotels and resorts are exceedingly difficult places to secure. Whereas security at airports, government buildings, embassies, residences and commercial office

Greg Demarque | Executive

Reconstructing cultural tourism

You see them adorning the walls of Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport and the Ministry of Tourism, in picture books about Lebanon or even flashing by in advertisements promoting the country. Images depicting Lebanon’s sites of antiquity, accompanied by a logo of the country’s name written in Arabic calligraphy, have become etched in people’s minds

Keith Yahl | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Seasons in the sun

The first half of 2015 has been good for the Lebanese hospitality and tourism sector and, across the industry, hopes are high for a positive summer season. “With respect to the economic and security climate, it has actually been quite good. One would imagine it to be worse than it really is, considering what’s going

Volker Kannacher | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

The evolving role of the central bank

“The overall duty of the [Lebanese Central] Bank shall be the safeguard[ing] of currency as fundamental guarantee for permanent economic and social development, and more specifically: – safeguarding a sound Lebanese currency – safeguarding economic stability – safeguarding the basic structure of the banking system – developing the monetary and financial market” Article 70, The Code of Money and Credit

Joseph Kaï | Executive

For better or for worse

It was the financial markets’ first big surprise of the year. In January 2015, the Swiss National Bank (SNB), the Alpine republic’s central bank, scrapped its 1.20 ceiling that limited the franc’s ascendancy vis-à-vis the euro. The franc suffered a rare appreciation shock that has been reflected by a higher valuation versus the euro throughout

Greg Demarque | Executive

More than spare change

Lebanon sorely lacks affordable housing options. This is true across the country, but is especially acute in Beirut. Renting in the capital is a case in point. Rental agreements signed before 1992, in which rent increases were tightly controlled, allow some tenants to pay only a fraction of the going rate in the open market.

Stock photo © PeopleImages

A need to even the playing field

Recently, CEOs of high growth companies were asked by Inc. magazine to pick their most admired entrepreneur. It turned out that the majority opted for Elon Musk (founder and CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX), Richard Branson (founder of the Virgin Group), Mark Cuban (known to the larger public via the show ‘Shark Tank’; he

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To fee or not to fee

The question of whether banks should structure their incomes on the premise of interest alone has long been answered in the negative. Diversification of risks and revenue streams have led institutions far beyond being mere lenders to generating income from services, transaction fees, trading, money management fees, commissions and the like. Even before the Great

Karan Jain | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Schizophrenic policymaking

When the economy slows, unemployment rises and consumption slumps, smart policymakers blow the dust off their Keynesian economics books and try to figure out which amount of government expenditure coupled with tax cuts would make optimal capital available to stimulate a prosperous cycle. Meanwhile central bankers decrease interest rates to make sure that this same

Greg Demarque | Executive

Charting a path

Decades of research has shown that affordable housing is a cornerstone of urban livability and wellbeing. Beyond providing shelter, housing is a platform for improving health, education, economic activity and social stability. Affordable, good quality and stable housing is often associated with less stress and better overall health. Similarly, satisfactory housing can improve school performance

Greg Demarque | Executive

Build it and they will come

Driving past the rows of vineyards and the occasional industrial factory in the fields of Taanayel, West Bekaa, one of the last things you would expect to see is 200,000 square meters of entertainment and mall structures. But that’s precisely the location Maurice Torbay, chairman of Cascada Village and a veteran of mall development in South

Greg Demarque | Executive

The dangers of stimulus

Subsidies are always tricky and generally dangerous. Benefits are impossible to predict with certainty and unintended consequences range from valuation bubbles and boosts of inflation to loss of competitiveness. Governments are well advised to use subsidies sparingly. Beyond the usual and long standing subsidies that aim at serving the disenfranchised and the needy (such as

Greg Demarque | Executive

PCH: An explainer

The housing loans that commercial banks offer with the support of the Public Corporation for Housing (PCH), colloquially known as Iskan loans or PCH loans, are engineered according to a smart financing formula that is advantageous for borrowers but nothing short of complicated. When a first time home buyer with Lebanese nationality and residency has

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