The Beirut office of the Americana Group, a Kuwait-based food franchise, denied rumors on Wednesday it would be massively downsizing its portfolio of chains operating in Lebanon, according to a report in the Daily Star newspaper.

Charles Arbid, head of the Lebanese Franchise Association, was quoted as telling the newspaper, “Americana is not exiting the Lebanese market but, given the situation, they are downsizing some brands. ... Some shops are being closed and others are relocating from one area to another."

Just this week, Americana's Krispy Kreame donut shop on Bliss Street in Hamra closed its doors, but a sign at the storefront signaled a new KFC branch would soon be opening in its place. Americana's brands include Pizza Hut, Hardees, KFC, Krispy Kreme, Costa Coffee and Grand Cafe, among others.

Earlier this month on September 9, the iconic American restaurant chain Hard Rock Cafe closed down its Beirut restaurant, among a number of other restaurant closures over the last few months, including Amarres, Tarator, Amareddine and Maki Sushi.

When asked about the closure, Maki spokesperson Joe Houjeili told, "We'd rather call it 'suspending operations' in Lebanon because we still believe we can reopen again, hopefully soon."

Tourism in Lebanon, a large contributor to the hospitality industry and the country's overall GDP, has sharply declined over the last three years. In an extensive report on the state of tourism published by Executive Magazine last week, the Tourism Ministry put visitor arrivals down by 43 percent in the first half of 2013 when compared with the same period in 2010.

Americana Group Denies Rumors of Massive Restaurant Chain Closures in Lebanon

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