Lebanon was preparing for a much-needed $1.5 billion cash injection with tourist chiefs predicting an influx of around 700,000 visitors over the coming days.

With the festive holiday season fast approaching, hoteliers were reporting an upsurge in bookings on last year.

Lebanese and foreign trippers are expected to flood into Beirut and coastal resorts. In downtown Beirut, decorative street lights raised spirits among the thousands of visitors flocking to markets selling food, drink, toys, books, and flowers.

Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon. Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast, Beirut is the country’s largest and main seaport. In May 2015, Beirut was officially recognized as one of the New7Wonders Cities together with Vigan, Doha, Durban, Havana, Kuala Lumpur, and La Paz.

Preparations were also in full swing for the Beirut Chants music festival. The free event will run over 26 days in churches and souks around the capital. The artistic director, Toufic Maatouk, claimed that the festival, now in its 15th year, had received support from foreign embassies and the participation of Lebanese bands.

The airport, which acted as a transit point for football fans heading to Qatar for the World Cup, had also seen some supporters opting to stay in Lebanon on their way back from the tournament.

Jean Abboud, president of the Association of Travel and Tourist Agents, stated that flights were fully booked from Dec. 10 to 25 with the number of Arab tourists on the rise, particularly from Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq. Abboud added that bookings had increased by 38 percent compared to the same period last year.

The Lebanese Ministry of Tourism has predicted that around 700,000 tourists will arrive in the country over the coming days.