Tourism is a prime revenue to the Lebanese economy. Alongside construction and real estate which are currently in a slowdown, the tourism sector is also a driver of economic growth in the country. Lebanon is renowned for its cultural, rural, and religious tourism which render it a rich and unique destination for tourists, namely Arabs, Europeans, and Americans.
Since 2011, the spillovers from the Syrian crisis sent tourist arrivals and tourist spending to new lows. In addition, regional pressures were imposed in the form of travel warnings, airline restrictions, and a GCC ban – all amid a country struggling to maintain its internal security and stability.
Nonetheless, Q4 of 2016 brought about positive developments on the political, national fronts. These were carried forward onto the first months of 2017 and a recovery was nurtured by the improved tourism in summer 2017. With the election of a president for the republic and the formation of a cabinet, national efforts succeeded to mend relations and break the curse of the GCC travel ban. The tourism sector witnessed a recovery by August 2017, with both main parameters: tourist arrivals and spending improving solidly, compared to the shy recovery that started in 2014. However, compared to tourism in 2010, a complete recovery in the tourism sector is still a long way ahead.
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