Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Further evidence that Lebanon is doing well economically?

If you've been to the American University of Beirut's (AUB) Outdoors Festival you may think so. The main headline of Outlook, AUB's official weekly publication reads: Outdoors breaks all records - Outdoors 2006 attracts 11,200 people to AUB.

The article claims that the number of attendees (all of which paid entrance fees), was 4,200 more than the previous year. Most of the individuals interviewed attributed the higher turn-out to better planning, a higher level of investment (i.e. costs of preperation), and, believe it or not, a "Wild Wild West" theme in which organizers dressed up as cowgirls and cowboys (I wish I could see some pictures!).

Bilal Idriss, a member of AUB's Red Cross Club claimed that his club generated 1,690,000 L.L. on Saturday. "That is double than what we made last year."

The question is: can we use this annecdotal evidence to reinforce the popular perception that Lebanon's economic performance is improving? In the US, one of the most popular indices watched by economists are the Consumer Confidence Index and consumer spending. I doubt we have any such stats in Lebanon. I suppose the Outdoors Festival may serve as a "Lebanese" alternative.


Doha said...


I don't think Outdoors relates to Lebanon doing well economically. Remember that many of those who attend Outdoors (usually AUBites, ACSers, etc.) their families/parents/fathers live abroad and so the money they spend in Lebanon can be considered a remittance. Perhaps we can say that there is consumer confidence, because people are spending, but again we should ask ourselves where this money is coming from.

Raja said...


This post was half serious. But, AUBites and ACSers are not the only Lebanese whose source of income is foreign.

Doha said...

I know that, but I was just giving examples of those who do attend the Outdoors event every year.

Anonymous said...

Raja and Doha,
To start with, I would not say that most AUBites' money comes from abroad. That being said, if you want to see the glass half empty, you can also interpret it as parents wanting to take their kids for a cheap outing, which the Outdoors really is - the kids can spread the money and still have a blast all afternoon. Better than going to Habtoor Land...

But that is just me being cynical. I think it is very charming that Outdoors did so well... Makes me slightly nostalgic too.

Kelly K

Doha said...

Kelly K

I didn't say "most", but I said "many". I agree with you about that Outdoors is a cheap outing, and it's so much fun. I miss it too :)


Did you read in the article if the Red Cross Club is still selling lemonade like they've always done?