H1 2019 carried political, economic, and social headwinds. Lebanon faced various political, social, and economic difficulties in the first 6 months of 2019, starting with a prolonged delay in forming a government which saw the light by end Jan. 2019. Shortly after, Moody’s downgraded Lebanon’s rating to Caa1 which further led to a deterioration of the national fiscal metrics and highlighted the unsustainable debt dynamics and the urgency to reform.
Nonetheless, the tourism sector remained a bright spot in the economy with the total number of tourists at highs of 2010. Lebanon received 923,820 tourists in H1 2019, very close to 2010’s total 964,067 tourists during H1, a record year for tourism in Lebanon. As per the ministry of tourism (MoT), tourist arrivals recorded an annual growth rate of 8.3% during H1 2019, compared to an annual uptick of 3.3% recorded in H1 last year. It followed that the number of airport passengers hit 3.98M passengers in H1 2019, which was 1.6 times higher than the number of passengers during the same period of 2010 according to Beirut international airport statistics.
A closer look at the sector reveals Lebanon was a “top winter destination” this year, not only a summer haven. Each of January and February 2019 recorded the largest number of tourists witnessed in the respective months since 2007. In fact, total visitors in the two months representing the winter/ski season hit figures never seen before reaching 112,880 and 118,175 by H1 2019, up by a yearly 5.5% and 3%, respectively.
For the full report, kindly visit the link: Tourism: Lebanon’s Bright Spot in H1 2019