First Batch of Lebanese Stranded in Turkey Return to Beirut
Dozens of Lebanese tourists who were stranded in Turkey and Georgia were returned on Saturday to Beirut after falling victim to a scam pulled off by an unlicensed Lebanese travel agency, LBCI TV said.
171 Lebanese nationals including two toddlers were returned from Turkey’s Dalaman Airport. They were trapped in Marmaris after realizing that the return tickets and hotel reservations booked by New Plaza Tours travel agency were fake.
Upon the approval of PM Saad Hariri, efforts were coordinated between Civil Aviation at the Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, head of the High Relief Committee Mohammed Kheir, travel and tourism agencies in Lebanon to return the first batch on board Atlas Air Turkish airlines.
The first plane arrived Saturday morning at the Beirut airport coming from Marmaris. The rest of the planes are expected to arrive successively.
"The agreement stipulates that the High Relief Commission will pay half the rent of the plane and the travel agencies will pay the second half with taxes," Mohammed Shehabeddine, director general of civil aviation, said.
Moreover, New Plaza Tours reportedly did not book rooms for its clients in the hotel they arrived to, which forced them to spend their first night sleeping on the floor.