T'is the season: snow, skiing entice more tourists to Lebanon this month

Published February 22nd, 2015 - 06:29 GMT

Lured by the snowy mountains and skiing season, the number of visitors to Lebanon in January 2015 increased by 22.6 percent compared with the same month in 2014, the Tourism Ministry said Friday. “The number of visitors in January 2015 increased to 90,784 from 70,090 in January 2014,” said a statement from the ministry.

Tourism Minister Michel Pharaon attributed the increase to the heavy snowfall in the mountains and the year’s good skiing season, which has become a main attraction for foreign and Arab tourists.

“We hope to be able to maintain such an improvement in the number of visitors in February, especially since the skiing season is successful this winter and prices of tickets to Lebanon have dropped lately,” Pharaon said.

Middle East Airlines announced Monday that it reduced its fuel surcharge on tickets by 50 percent to reflect the recent drop in oil prices. MEA had imposed a surcharge of about 15 percent of the price of a ticket after oil prices began to spike over the past few years. The surcharge has now been reduced to about 7.5 percent of a ticket’s price.

The statement said that the number of Arab visitors reached 34,734 during January 2015, registering an increase of 38.4 percent compared with the same month in 2014. As for the numbers of visitors from Europe and the United States, they have increased by 13.9 percent and 16 percent respectively during this month.

Iraqi tourists topped the list of Arab visitors in January of this year, reaching 12,194, an increase of 33.9 percent compared with the same period in 2014.

This was followed by Egyptians, who numbered 5,908 during the month, an increase of 27.9 percent.

Saudis ranked third on the list of Arab visitors, reaching 5,142 in January 2015 compared to only 2,204 in the same month of 2014, an increase of 133.3 percent.

However, Jordanian visitors to Lebanon recorded a drop by 5.3 percent to 4,658 in January 2015 compared the previous year.

The ministry said European visitors constituted around 30 percent of total visitors to Lebanon in January 2015. Visitors from France topped the list of European tourists with an increase of 12.2 percent, followed by Germans, up 5.2 percent, and British visitors, up by 10.3 percent.

Visitors from the U.S. constituted 14.9 percent of total tourists during that month.


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