Festivals and airport expansion are among the projects set to increase visitor numbers
Lebanon is hoping that the arrival of summer will lead to a surge in tourists that will help breathe new life into its struggling economy.
Minister of Tourism Walid Nassar projected that Lebanon could receive between 10,000 and 12,000 passengers a day – roughly one million passengers over the next three months – with an influx of Lebanese expatriates, returning home, joining the tourists expected to visit Lebanon.
Speaking about the summer season, Nassr said: “Lebanese expatriates and foreigners who love Lebanon will come to Lebanon and it will be a promising summer. Occupancy rates are full at airlines and hotels. ”
The return of live events is set to coincide with the arrival of summer tourists. The Baalbeck International Festival is expected to be a major draw.
A highlight in Lebanon’s cultural events calendar for more than 60 years, the festival was held virtually in 2020 and 2021 because of Covid-19 restrictions, but will be held in person this year from 8 to 17 July at Baalbek Castle.
Four concerts are scheduled to take place throughout the festival featuring Lebanese, Spanish and French musicians. The festival will open with a performance of traditional songs by Somaya Baalbaki.
To further continue recovery through travel and tourism, the country is set to launch an international tender for the construction of a new terminal at its only international airport.
Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport has been working at full capacity for years. The government’s expansion plans have been repeatedly delayed but after a period of stability, plans are now due to finally go ahead.
The Minister of Public Works and Transport, Ali Hamie, confirmed that a tender for the US$70 million project to build a second terminal is being prepared. Once completed, Terminal 2 will be used to accommodate low-cost carriers and will increase its current capacity of eight million passengers to 20 million by 2030.