Q4 2019 witnessed substantial developments in the country which hampered the tourism activity as reflected in our post earlier this week, with the number of airport passengers in 2019 marking its first slump in 8 years.
In fact, the number of travelers in Beirut airport declined by an annual 1.72% totaling 8.69M passengers by December 2019. In tandem, the cumulative number of tourists registered a 1.4% annual down tick to stand at 1.94M tourists over the same period. Moreover, noting that December is usually the time when Lebanese expatriates get together with their families in Lebanon, the number of tourists in the month of December alone fell to 106,222 travelers, instead of the 162,506 tourists of December last year.
On a yearly basis and despite the decline witnessed in the cumulative number of tourists by December 2019, the number of tourists from the top 3 destinations recorded marginal upticks. In detail, Europeans grasped the lion’s share or 37.2% of total tourists. Travelers from the Arab countries came in second, grasping a share of 29.7% of the total while tourists from the Americas and Asia constituted 18.8%, and 6.9% of total tourists.
The breakdown of statistics by the Ministry of Tourism reveals that the number of European tourists rose shyly by 2% year-on-year (YOY) to 720,421 in 2019. Most notably, visitors from the UK (7.7% of total tourists) rose substantially, going from 79,104 tourists by December 2018 to 149,877 by December 2019. This may be partially thanks to the two countries signing a trade continuity agreement earlier this year to strengthen bilateral relations. In turn, the number of French (9.4% of total) slipped by a yearly 0.1% to 181,127 visitors, while the number of German tourists (5.5% of total) added 2.1% to 97,275 travelers over the same period.
Meanwhile, the number of tourists from the Arab countries climbed cautiously by 2.1%YOY to settle at 574,352 tourists by Dec. 2019. This mainly came on the back of a 43.2% increase in the number of tourists from the KSA (4.6% of total tourists) to reach 88,142 tourists by December 2019. However, tourists from Iraq (10.1% of total) fell by an annual 7.2% to 196,265 visitors over the same period.
Lastly, tourists from the Americas rose by 1.7%YOY to reach 363,718 visitors in 2019, as the number of tourists from the USA (10% of total tourists) and Brazil (1.4% of total) recorded the yearly upticks of 1.2% and 11.8% to reach 192,671 and 27,966 travelers, respectively, over the same period. However, Canadian tourists who composed 5.8% of total tourists in 2019, fell by an annual 12.4% to 113,063 visitors by December 2019.
On a monthly basis, the downtick in overall tourists during December 2019 alone unveiled the sharp decreases of 22.97% and 56.99%YOY in the number of tourists coming from Europe (41.6% of total tourists) and the Arab countries (20.8% of total). As such, these respectively totaled 44,219 and 22,144 travelers over the period. Meanwhile, Tourists from the Americas also fell by an annual 25.44% to 21,566 over the same period.
Source: Ministry of Tourism