The Business Year

Lebanon has largely been regarded as the Pearl of the Middle East and recent stability has injected life into international tourism and the quality and variety of leisure activities on offer.

Michel Elefteriades

CEO, Music Hall/Elefteriades Production

Present challenges are related to maintaining the overhead costs of Music Hall, which are extremely high because we compete with places that operate with just a few DJs. We focus on quality and have many artists on stage. Our monthly payroll is extremely high; other places do not suffer from the crisis as much. We have the best locations in town and skilled employees, including waiters, kitchen staff, and chefs from abroad, who are all highly paid. Therefore, when people do not spend like before, the drop is drastic for us. We have to get extremely creative to maintain our quality and reduce expenses, which is a difficult management exercise. The venue is as packed as ever on Thursdays, Fridays, or Saturdays; however, our final sales are 40-50% lower compared to previous years. We always have change of programs, though classics will always be part of the show. As long as there is Music Hall, we must have iconic performances that will captivate the audience.

Malek Tambourgi

Director of Marketing, Sky Management

Sky Management was founded in May 2006 following the huge success of SKYBAR, which opened in 2003, and as we grew, we went into the restaurant business. We started with the opening of La Críªperie in June 2015 and in 2016 we opened SAX, a new experience where the art of dining blends with the widest selection of spirits and groovy live music. It is one of Beirut’s most successful restaurants and bringing it to Dubai is our next step. SKYBAR Dubai has been in the works for years; we have been approached to open SKYBARs all over the world from Marbella to Las Vegas, and even Paris. We have found the perfect location and are moving into the Dubai market in October 2018. As a group, we are extremely passionate and detail oriented. We recruit staff with great knowledge and experience, rather than opting for inexperienced labor. Every project we go into is for the medium to long term, which is why we have been able to sustain our brand for so long. It is about paying attention to details, making sure your product is always on top, and surrounding yourself with the right people.

Roger Daou

CEO, Roger Daou

Yacht Vision was established in 2008 with one brand, Prestige Yacht. From 2008-2010, we sold 10-15 boats, which was an amazing result for our first years in Lebanon. We continued with Absolute Yacht, one of the biggest and finest shipyards in Italy. We had great results between 2010 and 2014, which were some of our best years. Every year, we have dealers meeting with companies to understand latest designs and technology trends, such as joysticks that allow owners to easily operate 15-20m boats. Our target clients are people who love the sea; we have boats that cost USD5,000 as well as boats that cost USD65 million. In terms of aftersales service, we have a company dedicated only to maintenance and servicing. In addition, we have a crew for service and cleaning in every port. We also have a service that provides a captain for owners who do not want to hire a captain just for a trip. Notably, we provide a free two-year service to every new client.

Aziz Zada

CEO, Waternation Sal

Our beach park project is owned by WATERNATION SAL and was developed with YUCCA Holding as a beach water park and a members-only beach, which is a new concept in Lebanon and set to launch within 3Q2018. The company will select the members and one cannot become a member without an invitation, no matter how much a person is willing to pay. Moreover, the beach club, called the Beach will open along with the first Mediterranean restaurant by the sea. From Tripoli to Tyre, all the restaurants along the beach are Lebanese restaurants; however, we want to feature a proper Mediterranean beach and we are truly breaking the norms. The second phase of the project is a beach Water Park, called Blu Beach Park. It covers an area of 40,000sqm and we plan to open it by summer 2019. In terms of challenges, bureaucracy was the biggest one; just acquiring permits from the Ministry of Tourism and municipalities took a year. Comparatively, in Dubai there is a one-stop shop for all permits and unlike most countries, Lebanon doesn’t have a tourism board that provides assistance.



You may also be interested in...

Mahmoud Sobh

LEBANON - Tourism

Open Doors


General Manager, Zaatar w Zeit

Hadi el Khoury

LEBANON - Tourism

Taste Test


General Manager, Chili’s BEIRUT

View All interviews