According to the Ministry of Tourism, the number of tourist arrivals increased by an annual 9.98% to end the year at 1.86M by December 2017, driven by bigger numbers of tourists coming from Europe, the Arab countries, and the Americas. Moreover, the rise in the number of tourists in Lebanon contributed to the 5.5% annual uptick recorded in tourist spending by December 2017.
In details, European tourists who constituted 34.45% of total tourists, climbed by a yearly 13.31% to 639,624 travelers by the end of 2017. In fact, the number of French and German visitors increased by an annual 16.57% and 12.96%, to 169,787 and 98,914 tourists, respectively. Travelers from the United Kingdom and Sweden also registered annual upticks of 12.99% and 15.14% to reach 70,045 and 39,864, respectively, by December 2017.
In addition, the number of visitors from Arab countries, representing 30.23% of the total, rose by an annual 7.33% to 561,273. In fact, the effect of the travel ban lift on Saudi and Kuwaiti tourists continued to improve the number of visitors from both countries, which rose from 40,391 and 25,653 by Dec. 2016, to reach 63,422 and 41,046, respectively, by the end of 2017. It is important to mention that Saudis and Kuwaitis are Lebanon’s biggest spenders; therefore, the increase in their advent to Lebanon has indeed pushed tourist spending to rise by a yearly 15.37% and 28.46%, respectively, compared to Dec. 2016.
In contrast, the number of Iraqi and Emirati tourists slipped by a yearly 2.74% and 9.13% to stand at 229,542 and 1,921, respectively. Meanwhile, the number of Jordanians and Egyptians recorded upticks of 5.04% and a marginal 0.08% to 91,064 and 83,405, respectively, by Dec. 2017.
As for American tourists who composed 17.6% of total tourist arrivals, their number rose by an annual 10.34% to 327,536 by the end of 2017. This rise is mainly attributed to the yearly growth recorded in the number of visitors from the USA and Canada, which increased by 14.32% and 11.26% to 176,156 and 111,346, respectively, over the same period. Interestingly, tourist spending by Americans also rose by a yearly 10.59% by December 2017.
Number of Tourists by December (in millions)
Source: Ministry of Tourism