With the start of the tourism season in Lebanon, a rise in the number of European tourists was registered against a decline in the number of Gulf visitors, who seem to be waiting for a decision by their countries to lift the ban on travelling to Lebanon, which is apparently linked to the formation of a new government.
Cultural and musical festivals in various Lebanese regions kicked off last month and would intensify in July - a key factor that attracts European and American tourists – knowing that the number of festivals has diminished this year and may not reach more than a hundred, according to Tourism Minister in the caretaker government Avedis Guidanian.
Despite the presence of some Gulf tourists, who can be mainly seen in Beirut, Guidanian points out that the number of those are still limited and has declined by 30-40 percent compared to last year. Those, who came to Lebanon this year, have ignored travel warnings issued by Gulf countries, according to the minister.
“We can see a very positive development in the number of Gulf tourists if the ban is lifted, which might happen after the formation of the government, as ambassadors of the Gulf States told us,” Guidanian noted.
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“In contrast, we have been able to monitor an increase in the number of European tourists, especially French, Germans and English, in addition to a big rise in the number of Brazilian tourists, which increased by 50 percent compared to last year. We have also recorded an increase in the number of Canadians and Americans,” he added.
Over the past two years, the Ministry of Tourism has adopted a new strategy based on four main axes: promoting Lebanon as a tourist destination and marketing it to foreign tour operators; making Lebanon a regional and international conference and business center in cooperation with regional and international tourism companies; encouraging Lebanese expatriates to visit Lebanon; establishing digital tools to keep pace with tourism development with a focus on finding cooperation between various tourism institutions and securing sites dedicated to recreational and commercial tourism.
By Paula Astih
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