Over half a million tourists visited Lebanon in Q2 2019, 12 percent more than 2018

Over half a million tourists visited Lebanon in Q2 2019, 12 percent more than 2018

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Almost 550,000 tourists visited Lebanon in Q2 2019 according to the latest figures released by the Ministry of Tourism. The arrivals grew 12 percent compared to the same period last year.

In general, nearly one million tourists have traveled to Lebanon in the first half of the year. This marks an eight percent growth compared to H1 2018. Europeans (331,000) and Arabs (297,000) lead arrivals, followed by Americans and Asians.

The new dynamism is mainly driven by the lift of the Saudi travel ban, which resulted in bringing back Saudi tourists to the Lebanese cities. According to the MoT, almost 14,000 Saudi tourists came to Lebanon just in the month of June. 

Numerous initiatives are pushing towards replacing Lebanon on top of Middle Eastern tourism destinations.  The country has been leading several campaigns to diversify its tourism offering, from religious tourism, medical tourism, to wine and gastronomy tourism. 

Also, the country has been trying to alter from relying on GCC tourism, with packages appealing to Asian (Chinese) tourists as well as Russian tourists. According to the Lebanese minister of tourism Avedis Guidanian, over 10,000 Russian tourists have visited Lebanon in the first half of 2019. It is the highest number recorded for this period in the past nine years. 

“These numbers speak about progress, but we do not find it enough, so we focus our efforts on improving [conditions for attracting tourists from Russia,” Guidanian said, pointing to the need for broader business-to-business collaboration toward that aim.

Summer season is turnkey when it comes to boosting the number of arrivals to the country, and stakeholders are positive.

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