According to CNN, tourism in Lebanon hasn't reached its full potential yet, and it is predicted to hit a new record in 2019 and that despite some unfavorable factors impeding Lebanon from reaching its full touristic potential. In that regard, CNN emphasized on Lebanon's natural beauty that has proven strong for millennia, and went on describing its uniqueness, and hinting at what makes it worth a visit.
Lebanon's tourism has long been affected primarily by stereotypes and ignorance, and then by our internal troubles and conflicts, destabilizing our economy and leading to damaging regional political spats. This obviously resulted in a decline in visitor numbers.
However, Lebanon's true heritage and rich culture cannot go unseen and neither ignored. Lebanon is home to 240 kilometers of azure Mediterranean coastlines as well as forested valleys and mountain ranges culminating in the tallest peak of the Levant region. That is just to mention Lebanon's natural attraction.
Regardless of the downtimes in Lebanon's history, travelers have always sought it out, ever since its pre-Biblical times through our touristic peak times in the 1960s, and right through the 21st century.
"The first traveler in recorded history was the Sumerian King Gilgamesh who chose Lebanon's cedar forest as his destination," stated CNN. The Cedars of God forest, the temple of Bacchus in Baalbeck, Tripoli's old architecture, to name a few and not excluding the several UNESCO Heritage sites, have always been representative landmarks of Lebanon. Their historical, religious and social significances are not disregarded.
As per the CNN, and we totally agree with that, "The oldest trees in the forest, known as the Cedars of God, have been growing for over 2,000 years, and the thin mountain light filtering through the feathery boughs feels almost magical."
Also in the words of CNN, "Lebanon remains uniquely itself (...). Today, capital city Beirut's nightlife and quirky museums attract more tourists than ever before while its summer festivals -- this month's Cedars International Festival culminating in a performance by Andrea Bocelli -- also draw in big crowds."
It is a fact that Lebanon Summer festivals don't just cater to locals and Lebanese diaspora, but to people from all over the world. Adding to that, Lebanon's ski resorts, beach clubs, mountain's hiking, and river's rafting are also among the attractions drawing in tourists from abroad.
"Things have changed since we got Shakira and Andrea Bocelli this year," says May Chidiac, Lebanon's Minister of State for Administrative Development, at this year's summer festivities. It has indeed! The Andrea Bocelli concert of the Cedars International Festival sold out in less than two days.
Now, we might not state that tourists come to us just because of our delicious food but we can ascertain that it is an attraction they don't miss while visiting Lebanon. Lebanon's restaurants are packed with even more lively vibes during the tourism season.
Beirut, for instance, is not a city with a myriad of world-class tourist attractions. Rather, it's a place whose vibe you want to soak in. In other words, you'll want to linger over dinner and drinks.
"After drawing in just under two million visitors last year," Lebanon is up to hit a new record in 2019. It is now official in figures, graphs, and numbers that Beirut Airport's traffic has been improving yearly in the last decade. There is no wonder why the Irish airlines Ryanair has decided to take a base in Lebanon's airport to tap into that growing travel market, and at very low fees.