A woman speaks on the phone as she stands in front of the closed offices of the New Plaza Tours in Beirut, Aug. 22, 2019. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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More than a thousand Lebanese were reported to be stranded in various locations in Turkey Thursday, after booking vacations through the unlicensed Lebanese travel agency New Plaza Tours. Some local media outlets have stated that as many as 5,000 tourists are stuck in Turkey after the agency allegedly issued fake plane tickets and hotel reservations, but President of the Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies Jean Abboud has estimated that the number is closer to 1,500 . A handful of employees from other agencies who purchased hotel and flight deals for clients through New Plaza Tours stood outside the agency's closed office in Tayouneh Thursday, waiting for answers.All of the company's branches are now shut and no one at the agency could be reached for comment. However, Abboud did not place the responsibility on the Tourism Ministry to regulate agencies without licenses.
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