The overall spending by tourists to Lebanon increased by four percent in Q4 2013 when compared with the same period in 2012, reveals statistics by Global Blue, with Beirut attracting 81 per cent of the total spend.
In fact, UAE travellers to Lebanon accounted for 15 per cent of the total tourist expenditure in Q4 2013, according to Global Blue, followed by those from Saudi Arabia (12 per cent), Egypt and Syria (eight per cent each), Kuwait (seven per cent) and Jordan (six per cent). International tourists made their marks too, with France accounting for five per cent of all tourist expenditure, followed by the US (three per cent) and Nigeria (two per cent).
Hotel industry figures also reflect a surge in tourism business to Lebanon, with Beirut reporting the largest increase in occupancy rates in November 2013 when compared with November 2012, thus growing by 22.3 per cent to 43.2 per cent, according to STR Global.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the travel and tourism industry remains one of Lebanon’s key economic drivers, with direct contribution to GDP reaching $41.3 billion (9.3 per cent of GDP) in 2012 and rising by 1.8 per cent to $42.1bn in 2013. The direct contribution of travel and tourism to Lebanon’s GDP is expected to grow by 5.8 per cent per annum, thereby amounting to $74bn (9.6 per cent of GDP) by 2023.
The annual Arabian Travel Market roadshow is arriving tomorrow (Tuesday, February 11) in Beirut, with key industry players gathering to discuss marketing opportunities to showcase Lebanon’s tourism potential. The Arabian Travel Market 2014 will take place from May 5 to 8 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, with an additional hall. Last year, it welcomed more than 21,000 visitors and participants from 165 countries.