The first quarter of 2022 brought about positive developments on the national fronts. The tourism sector was more robust marked by outstanding improvements amid the resumption of normal activity and the easing of pandemic restrictions in Lebanon.
According to the data revealed by the Ministry of Tourism, the number of incoming visitors witnessed an annual increase of 155.77% reaching 212,950 visitors by March 2022, compared to only 83,260 by March 2021, 194,395 by March 2020, and down from 375,815 visitors by March 2019.
In tandem, number of travelers in Beirut airport increased by an annual 100.94% totaling 1.10M passengers by March 2022, compared to 549,342 passengers by March 2021 and down from 1,207,882 passengers by March 2020 and 3,140,440 passengers by March 2019.
The breakdown of statistics by the Ministry of Tourism reveals that the number of tourists from the top 3 destinations recorded considerable upticks. In detail, Europeans grasped the lion’s share or 36.93% of total tourists. Travelers from the Arab countries came in second, grasping a share of 33.74% of the total while tourists from the Americas and Asia constituted 16.59%, and 4.83% of total tourists.
In more details, the number of European tourists rose sharply by 116.49% year-on-year (YOY) to 78,651 by March 2022. Most notably, visitors from France stood at 19,109 by March 2022. Germany followed by 12,891 tourists while England came third as British visitors amounted for 6,641 by the same period. Meanwhile in the Arab world, tourists from Iraq grasped the majority among all the Arab countries with a stake of 55% or 40,902 visitors came to Lebanon. Egyptians in turn gripped 18% (13,566 visitors) out of Arab visitors while Jordanians followed by a share of 10% (7,540 tourists) out of total Arab tourists. Interesting to note that UAE and Saudi Arabia ‘s share dropped sharply to 0.11% (84 visitors) and 0.82% (588 visitors), respectively as the national efforts to mend relations and break the curse of GCC travel bans seemed failed to succeed.
Lastly, tourists from the American continent rose by 160.29% YOY to reach 35,348 visitors by the first quarter of 2022 up from 13,580 by March 2020. On a country basis, the number of tourists came from the USA amounted to 18,423 or 52% out of total arrivals from America. In its turn, Canada came second with 11,356 visitors constituting 32% of total arrivals from America’s continent. Brazil and Venezuela followed with 8% and 3% share out of total arrivals from America.
Historically speaking, the tourism sector in Lebanon witnessed moderate improvements in tourist arrivals yet it was very limited compared to 362,398 and 375,815 visitors by the first quarter of 2018 and 2019, respectively. However, the outlook for Lebanon’s tourism sector is optimistic as indicators from the private sector signal a very agitated and promising summer in terms of tourism, compared to 2010; but a complete recovery in the tourism sector in Lebanon is still a long way ahead.
Total Number of Tourists and Annual Growth Rate by March:
Source: Ministry of Tourism