Travel and Tourism - Lebanon - February 2014
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A small nation a stone’s throw from Europe, Lebanon, a Middle Eastern country with a Mediterranean flavour, possesses the potential to become a major leisure destination. Here, visitors can ski in the morning and be at the beach for the afternoon, sample a rich cultural Roman and Phonecian heritage, trek in the mountains and valleys, enjoy top quality wines and party in its liberal, vibrant capital, Beirut.
Still bearing the scars of 15 years of civil war, Lebanon’s resilient tourism sector recovered during the 1990s and 2000s to be heralded as the Middle East’s greatest success story in 2009. Tourist arrivals to Lebanon reached a healthy 2 million in 2010, the highest recorded in over 15 years. However, this was to be short-lived, as the Arab Spring at the end of 2010 sent ripples of civil unrest throughout the Middle East region.
Tourism has been hard hit in Lebanon the last few years due to the ongoing war in neighbouring Syria, which began in March 2011, and has spilled over into a spate of domestic security incidents. According to data issued by the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism, international arrivals for the first ten months of 2012 were down by 37% compared with 2010, and some 60% of tourism was in Beirut. With no end in sight for the long-running conflict in Syria, prospects for 2013 are not looking rosy.
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