According to Global Blue, tourist spending in Lebanon rose by a yearly 8% in Q1 2017, compared to Q1 2016. This increase is mainly attributed to the relatively higher spending by GCC nationals in the first three months of 2017. Looking at the number of tourists in January and February together, the number of Saudi and Kuwaiti visitors escalated by a yearly 46.55% and 44.45%, respectively, compared to the same period in 2016.
The largest bulk of tourist spending corresponded to Saudi visitors with a share of 16% of the total, followed by 13% for Emirati nationals, 8% for Kuwaiti tourists.
Tourist spending by Saudi Arabian visitors increased by 26% in Q1 2017 compared to last year and spending by Kuwaiti and American tourists amplified by a similar 46% over the same period. Nonetheless, tourist spending from UAE, Egypt and Jordan fell by yearly 4%, 29% and 21%, respectively.
In Q1 2017, fashion and clothing was the category that captured most of the tourist spending with a share of 73% in the total followed by 13% for watches and jewelry. Spending on fashion and clothing rose by 13% y-o-y by March 2017 while spending on watches and jewelry plunged by 17% over the same period.
The capital Beirut is where 81% of tourist expenditures took place, while 13% were disbursed in Metn (Mount Lebanon). In Beirut, tourist spending witnessed an 11% increase while that in Metn dipped by 5%.
On a different note, the number of refund transactions marginally rose by 1% (y-o-y) by March 2017. Transactions carried out by Saudi Arabian and Kuwaiti respectively increased by 15% and 45%, while those of Egyptians and Emiratis declined by 36% and 12%, respectively.
Yearly Spending Evolution by Area by March 2017
Source: Gobal Blue Tourist Spending Report