Lebanon’s position in the tourism race by Ralph Nader CEO Amber Consulting
The majority of those paying attention to negative media coverage on Lebanon over the past few years would have probably omitted the country from their list of possible holiday destinations. However, others who read between the lines defied what was being reported on news channels and visited the country.
While media headlines bombarded the world with gloomy, at times horrifying, news about Lebanon, its citizens were at work behind the scenes. The series of crises — coronavirus outbreak, political instability, hyperinflation, banking system collapse and Beirut Port blast, to name a few — highlighted the entrepreneurial spirit of the Lebanese people, forming a solid resistance in the face of its public authorities.
Lebanon: the good, the bad, yet the best
It is easy to believe that a country that has faced one crisis after another for the past two years has nothing more to offer. Yet the fact is, Lebanon has always refused, and still refuses, to declare defeat. Although the country is going through massive changes on all levels — be it demographic, social, political or economic — it seems to be getting back on its feet where the hospitality industry is concerned. Naturally, most hospitality businesses had to rethink, downsize or completely shut down their businesses given the situation. Therein lies opportunity; was the public sector going to rescue them? No. If history is of any reference, the tourism sector has always been the backbone of the Lebanese economy, and it appears that it will remain so. Even in the midst of the financial crisis, the number of businesses that decided to defy the status quo by continuing to operate or entering the scene with a unique concept and a profitable yet more accessible pricing model, has been spectacular. We have witnessed new restaurants, bars, beaches and even gaming facilities pop up nearly every week, in addition to latest guesthouse concepts that have become the new mainstream getaway. Additionally, local products are slowly but surely taking over supermarket shelves, a substantial but welcome change, given Lebanon’s history as a major importer.
As a result, Lebanon is seeing a significant increase in hospitality facilities and services after two years of depression. Not only that, all of these facilities are constantly at capacity to keep up with the joyful and ever-uplifting spirit of the Lebanese people, despite everything they are going through.
Restaurants and bars
The burgeoning restaurant scene continues to welcome new concepts, with endless options that range from street food to fine dining. Lebanon’s restaurants and bars are known for their creative feel, reflecting the cosmopolitan culture that both locals and foreigners are particularly fond of.
For an unforgettable dining experience, you can visit Batroun, Byblos, Chouf, Faraya Kfardebian, Faqra and, of course, Beirut. The Popular restaurants and bars in Lebanon include Bread Republic, Iris,
Clap, Bolero, BO18, Frozen Cherry, Bar du Port, Mariolino, Bar Lost, Em Cherif, SUD Restobar, Mezyan, Mayrig, Babel, Al Falamanki, Bahsa by Al Mandaloun, Al Sultan Ibrahim, Leila, Mezcaleria and Merchak sur Mer.
Pools and beach clubs
The Lebanese coastline is bursting with amazing resorts and beach clubs, with even more places opening soon this summer. From Anfeh in the north to Tyre in the south, there are countless spots to tan, swim and enjoy the sea breeze. The top 20 touristic pools and beaches in Lebanon include Orchid Beach, Movenpick Beirut, Kempinski Summerland, Eden Bay, Nowhere Beach, Riviera Hotel & Resort, Lazy B, Pierre & Friends, Rocca Marina, Sporting Beach, Anfeh Beach, Eddeh Sands, O Glacée, Janna sur Mer, Joining Beach, El Heri Beach and Fidar Beach House.
Besides the usual live music venues and fun nightlife that Lebanon is famous for, recent trends have highlighted interesting spots for intellectual minds. A growing number of escape rooms and places promoting board games have entered the scene, with brilliant and stimulating brain teasers that are perfect for competitive spirits or for those seeking quality time with family and friends.
Where best to spend your summer if not with the most hedonistic beings on Earth?
Satisfy every whim
While there are plenty of traditional, historical and folkloric sites to satisfy your Lebanese nostalgia, an array of new and unique places can also be found in Lebanon.
Guesthouses and boutique hotels You might want to consider staying at a guesthouse or boutique hotel in Lebanon. Many provide exciting outdoor and indoor activities, such as hiking, yoga, mini golf and horseback riding, as well as a plethora of amenities. From cozy cottages to glamping, there is something to suit all tastes and budgets.
Lebanon’s inclusive culture accommodates all types of tourism, including the religious kind. Pilgrims who visit the country are often surprised by the sheer number of religious sites, which are dotted throughout the country and represent Lebanon’s 18 sects. Needless to say, that nature, history and culture will catch up with you wherever you decide to land in Lebanon.