Resilient Lebanon: tourism’s triumphant phoenix

Resilient Lebanon: tourism’s triumphant phoenix


Lebanon is a phoenix, according to Amine Moukarzel, president and partner of Louvre Hotels Group and Golden Tulip Hotels MENA. Here, the veteran hotelier shares his thoughts on the country’s rise.

The struggle

Lebanon, resilient year after year, emerges as the ultimate tourism survivor, embodying a phoenix rising from the ashes after every crisis.

Persistently persevering, Lebanon continually explores new initiatives across all levels of the tourism industry. From enhancing airport infrastructure and refining travel trade patterns to securing additional airlines and boosting passenger numbers, the country is dedicated to growth. Notably, Lebanon embraces expansion by opening new venues for restaurants, nightclubs and bars. Lebanon’s hotels have shown remarkable resilience despite facing numerous challenges, including an economic meltdown, fluctuations in the dollar exchange rate and the aftermath of the devastating port explosion. This determination extends to the wider community, including associations of restaurants, hotels and travel agents, among others.

Hope on the horizon

Lebanon resiliently showcases its enduring appeal with the launching of new initiatives, as well as capitalizing on opportunities and catering to the diaspora’s patronage, occasional visits and seasonal support. The nation, known for its optimism, navigates the tourism landscape adeptly. Every tourism association seizes opportunities, exploring initiatives and capitalizing on destinations to attract tourists in every season. This reflects the faith of the Lebanese diaspora in their homeland. They continue to invest and show their solidarity to Lebanon

The way forward

Hospitality projects in Lebanon signal significant investments, further reinforced by the resurgence of restaurants, bars and food and beverage outlets. The tourism industry plays a crucial role in the country’s GDP, continuously contributing to the national economy’s growth. Despite challenges, tourism thrives, providing a sense of peace and safety for travelers, resiliently standing against adversities.

To secure the future, it’s essential to examine upcoming trends in leisure, business, medical, local tourism and MICE tourism. A critical aspect is the strategic leveraging of Lebanon’s popularity in aesthetic tourism.

To draw the main feeder market from neighboring countries, including Gulf states and the Arab world, strategic considerations are essential. Lebanon’s appeal vis-à-vis leisure, medical tourism and events is firmly established, with recent patronage from Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and some European markets. Rural hotels have successfully tapped into a new niche.

However, the absence of visitors from GCC countries due to safety measures necessitates a new policy to reestablish diplomatic ties. The Lebanese, particularly in the restaurant industry, contribute significantly. The Syndicate RCNP’s role in the country and the promotion of such franchises, particularly to Arab countries, are crucial aspects to emphasize.

Always rising

The domestic tourism potential in Lebanon is thriving due to the country’s versatility—four seasons and scenic beauty. Moreover, the country attracts millennials and the Lebanese diaspora, who are known for higher spending. Tailored packages cater to domestic travelers, offering options from romantic escapes to family gatherings. Additionally, the penchant of the Lebanese for grand celebrations, especially weddings, boosts various trades. Furthermore, the summer season, spanning June to September, sees a surge in large-scale events and corporate activities. Positive reviews on platforms like TripAdvisor contribute to tourism growth. Notably, trade shows like HORECA play a crucial role in supporting this growth. Expanding such events throughout the country, including Beirut and Tripoli, is essential for sustained growth.

The triumph

Despite facing negative indicators and constraints, we remain motivated and optimistic about Lebanon’s future in travel and tourism. Despite safety concerns and economic challenges in neighboring countries, the summer of 2023 in Lebanon was successful. This accomplishment is attributed to the Lebanese diaspora, along with the addition of new routes by the MEA and other airlines.

Looking ahead, there are plans for expanding airport facilities to attract more budget airlines. Consequently, increasing routes and solidifying Lebanon’s position as the leading tourism destination in the Levant. Furthermore, this success can be attributed to the support of the diaspora and comprehensive promotional efforts. Moreover, Lebanon anticipates a surge in visitors, portraying the nation as a phoenix rising from the ashes and showcasing its resilient spirit as the ultimate tourism survivor.

 Amine Moukarzel,
president and partner
Louvre Hotels Group and Golden Tulip Hotels MENA

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