According to the Ministry of Tourism, the number of tourists visiting Lebanon as of October 2014 has displayed a 4.83% year-on-year (y-o-y) improvement, bringing the total number up from 1,080,374 tourists to 1,132,607.
This increase remains greatly affected by the number of Iraqi incomers, most of whom are escaping the security threats in Iraq. Their numbers surged by 26.68% compared to the same period last year, and reached 149,121. Excluding these incomers, the total number of tourists still displays a 2.15% y-o-y increase to 982,686. This increase reveals the scope of recovery of Lebanon’s tourism sector and its ability to withstand political uncertainty.
European tourists, who represented 33.65% of all tourists by end-October 2014, revealed a 2.51% y-o-y increase to 381,176. This increase is mainly due to the increasing number of the French and German tourists, who augmented 2.05% and 11.67% to 102,642 and 59,806, respectively. Incomers from Sweden, Italy and England also increased by respective 20.38%, 13.36% and 0.92%. In contrast, tourists from Turkey displayed the only decrease, as the number of incoming tourists was reduced by 39.00% to 12,950 as a result of increased security and political concerns at the Turkish-Syrian borders.
Arab tourists formed the second largest tourist group and accounted for 33.16% of the total, increasing by 10.93% y-o-y to reach 375,526 by October 2014. Simultaneously, Egyptian tourists rose by 7.97% y-o-y. In fact, only the number of Jordanian tourists posted a decline, by 6.85% y-o-y to 62,373.
In contrast, American travelers continued to increase, and rose by 7.37% y-o-y to 192,547 tourists.
In October alone, tourism reflected a 10.75% uptick compared to the October 2013, heavily influenced by the 20.60% y-o-y climb in Arab tourists.