There is no problem in Saudi tourists visiting Lebanon this summer, the Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon told the Minister of Tourism, Michel Pharaon. “We have also invited Saudi tourists to visit our country. We cannot at the moment guarantee their response, but we believe our invitation will help break the embargo,” Pharaon said.
The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) has started implementing its vision and supporting tourism in the country since the launching of its campaign Live Love Lebanon, and through the rural tourism project.
The MoT managed to increase rural tourism from five to 20 percent of the tourism activity, especially that the infrastructure is available. Pharaon explained that last summer would have witnessed positive results if the garbage crisis did not grip the country.
The positive environment that the ministry managed to create and support resulted in over 100 festivals last year. Guest houses turned into a true trend. Their number grew from 70 to 90. They witnessed high occupancy between May and October, with room rates increasing from USD 35 to USD 90 due to high demand.
The MoT is working on the Phoenician Road project as well as expatriate and medical tourism strategies.
On another level, the ministry is currently aiming at attracting Chinese and Russian tourists. “We have set a primary objective through inviting Chinese travel agencies to visit Lebanon. When it comes to Russian tourists, we are working in the same direction, especially with Russians lessening their visits to neighboring countries,” Pharaon explained. The MoT has even organized a Russian language session to tourist guides.