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Report: Lebanon Tourism Anticipates Better European Arrivals in 2018

Dec 23

Before the political crisis following the, now-reversed resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, tourism sectors in Lebanon expected to achieve occupancy rates during the holiday season much larger than the current rates. However, they believe the activity is better than last year, as inspired by Tourism Minister Avedis Kedanian's projects who announced that “2018 is the year of tourism in Lebanon.”

Kedanian told al-Joumhouria daily on Friday that the “bookings during the current holiday season are very acceptable due to the political crisis that Lebanon experienced during the past month,” adding that “hotel reservations during the holidays belong to Lebanese expatriates and to visitors from Europe.”

The number of European tourists in the second half of this year, “indicate a 15 percent increase compared to 2016,” he said.

Adding, that the number of tourists during November, when the country experienced a major political crisis, “rose by 1 percent compared to November last year, contrary to what was expected.”

The number of French tourists during the month “rose 19.10 percent, Germans 13.15 percent, Britons 6.23 percent and Italians 23.79 percent,” he noted.

Kedanian noted that the number of tourist arrivals to Lebanon until November 2017 reached 1.715 million visitors. “We have exceeded the total number of arrivals during 2016, which amounted to 1.688 million visitors.'

'By the beginning of 2018, Lebanon will receive groups of tour operators from Europe and conference organizers at the invitation of the Ministry of Tourism, to explore tourism on the ground,” he said

He noted that convention tourism will activate tourist traffic in the winter, which will provide functional movement throughout the year.

Kedanian also said the number of European tourists will grow more in 2018, “because Lebanon has become part of the tourist package program for the year 2018 in the travel and tourism companies in Germany, France and Britain.”

He concluded saying that “2018 is the year of tourism in Lebanon. We will witness remarkable development in tourism. We are trying to open up new markets in parallel with the Arab and Gulf markets, regardless of the political problems and the embargo imposed on Lebanon. We are also counting on opening the land border between Syria and Jordan, which will allow Lebanon to re-attract large numbers of Jordanian tourists. '