Lebanon’s touristic sector improved in the first quarter of 2015 year-on-year (y-o-y), on the back of the low base reached last year, the skiing season that attracted Arab tourists and the enhanced political and security situations in the country in light of the developments that are taking place in the region. Hence, according to the Ministry of Tourism, the number of incomers during the first quarter of 2015 amounted to 282,256, a 23.12% surge from 229,252 recorded in the same period last year.
The number of Arab tourists, constituting 36.19% of the total, displayed a yearly increase of 28.22%, to register 102,154 by March 2015. As for Iraqi incomers, their number held the largest share of Arab tourists of 38.64%, and increased by an annual 24.45% to 39,473 over the same period, knowing that Iraqi tourists are actually refugees that are granted a tourist visa. The number of Saudi and UAE visitors recorded the most pronounced increases going from 6,283 to 12,846 and from 883 to 1,643, respectively. The number of Kuwaitis also jumped from 4,492 to 6,832 y-o-y in Q1 2015.
The number of European visitors, amounting to 31.57% of the total, augmented by 19.01% y-o-y, to reach 89,122. France, grasping the largest share of European tourists at 25.55%, went up by a yearly 13.52% to 22,769. The number of incomers from Turkey, Germany and the United Kingdom also saw respective improvements of 50.84% to 4,593 and 27.37% to 11,946 and 21.70% to 10,448 y-o-y in Q1 2015.
In terms of the number of American travelers, accounting for the third major portion of the total at 14.10%, it reached 39,801 in the first three months of 2015, a 20.58% increase over the same period last year. Combining Africa, Asia and Oceania tourist numbers, they saw the highest progress of 43.48% yearly to 96,781 tourists in Q1 2015 compared to 67,451 in 2014.
In March alone, the number of tourists also progressed by 27.63% y-o-y to 106,397. The tally of Arab, European and American tourists all grew by 28.62% to 36,229, 22.90% to 33,847 and 31.74% to 15,451, respectively compared to the same month last year.
Number of Tourists by March
Source: Ministry of Tourism