Two million tourists visited the country last year, registering a six percent increase compared to 2017, according to the Ministry of Tourism (MoT).
The largest number of tourists came from Europe (706,000), registering a growth of ten percent in 2018, compared to the preceding year. Most of the European tourists were French, registering ten percent growth, followed by Germans and British.
“Efforts over the past years to diversify the country’s touristic offerings have paid off, bringing visitors from a wider variety of countries in Europe,” said Nada Sardouk, Director General at MoT.
Europeans are showing a willingness to explore more of the country, which benefits villages and businesses outside Beirut, according to Sardouk.
Some 563,000 Arab tourists visited Lebanon, with Iraqis topping the list, followed by Jordanians, Egyptians, and Saudis.
Saudis started coming back to the country, as last December alone witnessed a 250 percent increase in the number of Saudis tourists (7,500), compared to the same month in 2017.
December also saw a 20 percent increase in the number of Jordanians. Even more Jordanians are expected to visit, now that the Jaber-Nassib border crossing is open again.
Approximately 358,000 tourists from the American continents visited the country, most of who came from the US, followed by Canadian and Brazilian visitors.
The MoT’s numbers don’t include Syrian and Palestinian visitors. Approximately 415,000 Syrian tourists visited the country last year.
Touristic revenues are estimated to have reached $7 billion last year, according to MoT. The ministry indicated that those revenues were $8 billion in 2010, an excellent year for tourism.