Lebanon: Number of tourists down
The local political situation combined with regional events (mainly in Syria) continue to affect the tourism industry in Lebanon. The total number of tourists has dropped by 24.4% during the first ten months of the current year, according to data published by Bank Audi. The figures indicate that a total of 1,400,711 tourists visited Lebanon as of late October against 1,851,922 in the same period of 2010.
During the month of October 2011 alone, the number of tourists reached 124,601, down 20.8% compared to the same month in 2010. Most tourists came from Arab countries with 34% of total visitors, followed by Europeans (29.6%), Asians (15.8%), America (13.6%), Africa (3.6%) and Oceania (3.3%).
It is interesting to note that at the end of October 2010 the share of Arab tourists amounted to 41.3%.
The tourism sector is an important factor within the Lebanese economy. Lebanon's Minister of Tourism Fadi Abboud, has recently said: "Tourism in Lebanon accounts for 22 percent of the country's national income. It is the most important income source for Lebanon. We hope that (in the future) we will produce oil and secure another important source of income for Lebanon."
Last year, the Lebanese tourism sector grew by about 20 percent. Its revenues amounted to just over US$8 billion. (Source: english.nuqudy.com)