The latest figures released by Lebanon’s Ministry of Tourism revealed a remarkable growth in the tourism sector in the first five months of 2019, foreshadowing a promising summer season which is usually the country’s most attractive period. In fact, the number of tourist arrivals added 5.5% year-on-year (y-o-y) to hit an 8 year high of 692,704 tourists by May 2019, which lags behind the record-figure of 732,855 tourist arrivals by May 2010, knowing 2010 was Lebanon’s golden year on the tourism sector.
It is interesting to also note that by May 2010, Arab tourists constituted the bulk of total travelers (41.5%), followed by Europeans (24.6%), 19.4% from Asia, 10% from the Americas and 4.5% from others. However, by May 2019, the tourism canvas began to slowly shift such that number of European tourists gained thrust (comprising 37% of total arrivals to Lebanon), followed by 33.2% of total from the Arab countries, 15.4% from the Americas, 7.9% from Asia and the remaining tranche from other regions.
In details, total European tourists added 8.7% y-o-y to 256,122 travelers by May 2019. In fact the number of French, German, and British visitors recorded annual growths of 5.8%, 2.2%, and 6.1% to hit 66,514 and 31,065 and 27,399 travelers, respectively. Meanwhile, Arab tourists added 16.2% y-o-y to reach 229,941 such that Lebanon welcomed 83,761 Iraqi tourists over the period (equivalent to 36.4% of total tourists from the Arab countries), up by 1.2% y-o-y. Egyptian tourists followed (16.8% of total Arabs) climbing by 14% y-o-y to 38,715 tourists by May 2019. In turn, travelers from Jordan (14.1% of total Arabs) gained an annual 4.2% to stand at 32,482 tourists. Meanwhile, Lebanon continued to reap the benefits of the KSA lifting its travel ban since Feb 2019 and thus recorded the arrival of 31,069 Saudi tourists by May 2019, up from 16,874 Saudi nationals in the same period last year. As for tourists from the Americas, they registered a 3.9% y-o-y uptick to 106,471 visitors by May 2019, of which 51.5% (or 54,828 travelers) were USA nationals, compared to 52,001 arriving to Lebanon by May 2018. Moreover, 31.8% of total tourists from the Americas were Canadian nationals. These last hit 33,876 tourists by May 2019 compared to 33,609 in the same period last year. It’s worthy to also note the 10.8% yearly surge recorded in the number of tourists coming from Brazil, amounting to 8,774 tourists (or 8.2% of total tourists from the Americas) by May 2019.
Cumulative Number of Tourist Arrivals by May
Source: Ministry of Tourism