According to the Ministry of Tourism, the number of tourists visiting Lebanon by Q3 2014 has displayed a 4.21% year-on-year (y-o-y) improvement, bringing the total number up from 977,380 tourists to 1,018,541.
This increase is heavily influenced by the number of Iraqi incomers, which surged by 25.46% compared to the same period last year, to 129,274. Excluding these incomers, the total number of tourists displays a 1.71% y-o-y increase to 889,267. This increase reveals the scope of recovery of Lebanon;s tourism sector and its ability to withstand political uncertainty.
European tourists, representing 33.86% of all tourists, revealed a 1.59% y-o-y increase to 344,875 by September. This can be attributed mainly to the French and German tourists, which gained 1.28% and 10.52% to 93,762 and 53,504, respectively. Incomers from England, Sweden and Italy also rose by respective 0.55%, 22.14% and 12.87%. However, tourists from Turkey displayed the only decrease, with the number of incoming tourists down by 43.87% to 11,152.
Arab tourists, accounting for 32.28% of the total, increased by 9.68% y-o-y to reach 328,774 in the first nine months of 2014, including Iraqi incomers, which constitute 39% of Arab tourists. Egyptian tourists rose by 6.33% y-o-y. However, the number of Jordanian visitors continued to fall, with an 8.28% decline from the same period last year.
As for the number of American travelers, it rose by 8.12% y-o-y to 177,352 tourists.
In September alone, tourism reflected a remarkable 40.71% surge compared to the same period in 2013.
Number of Tourists by September
Source: Ministry of Tourism