The tourism industry is a major source of revenue for Lebanon. However, due to the instability in the country and in the region, this sector was going through ups and downs. Fortunately, things have changed in summer 2017:
! Things have changed. The state of Middle Eastern countries, like the civil war in Syria and the uncertain future of the Gulf region and Turkey, is the major factor that made the Lebanese tourism gain ground this summer. Comparing to the same period last year, tourists are staying longer in Lebanon. During Eid Al Fitr last year, the difference between the number of arrivals and departures was 19,000; however, this year it’s 24,000. This positive change has affected luxury hotels tremendously as the hotel occupancy in 5 stars hotels in Beirut is up to 80% this summer. The factor that led this increase to take place is that the number of tourists grew by 14%, according to the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism. Since there is a lot of demand, mainly from expats living in Dubai, the average price for a hotel room increased by 14%, reaching 145$. The revenue per available room (RevPar) increased by 19.3% since the average daily rate (ADR) and the occupancy both increased by 6.6%.
Even though 5 stars hotels are witnessing a positive change, the current state of the luxury retail market in Beirut is yet unknown. A lot of tourists like to experience luxury in Downtown Beirut. The reason is that the stores there offer a unique service and a great customer care which highlight the hospitality of Lebanese people. The state-of-the-art Downtown Beirut also makes the center of the Lebanese capital appealing to tourists. Owners of stores there are saying that they mainly rely on tourists and Lebanese expats who prefer to buy luxury goods from Lebanon to contribute to the Lebanese economy. However, they are also saying that it is not enough to rely solely on tourists anymore. Downtown Beirut should work more on attracting locals who prefer to visit malls for shopping.