BEIRUT: Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud called on the government Tuesday to allocate more funds to his ministry to market Lebanon as a tourism destination.
Abboud, who was speaking during a news conference to announce the agenda of the International Beiteddine Festival for 2012, said his ministry was planning a large promotional campaign dubbed “Eye on Lebanon” to feature on CNN network.
“Unfortunately, we have yet to realize the importance of global marketing and its direct impact on the promotion of tourism,” Abboud said.
Abboud added that the Tourism Ministry, which enjoys a small budget, was seeking alternative funding sources by all means to boost promotional advertising as Lebanon’s neighbor states allocate large budgets to attract visitors.
The Eye on Lebanon campaign will be largely funded by the Lebanese Banks Association, Casino du Liban and Global Blue, according to Abboud.
Abboud said that while the Tourism Ministry financially supports festivals with millions of dollars in a bid to attract foreign visitors, the government reclaims those funds through indirect and direct taxes rather than reinvesting the money in marketing campaigns.
“The Tourism Ministry is still fighting for a decent budget to enable it to undertake large promotional campaigns to boost tourism ... which would revive the economy,” Abboud said.
Tourismin Lebanon was gravely affected by the events in the region and specially in Syria as the number of visitors in 2011 fell by more than 25 percent.
The TourismMinistryhas been calling on the private sector and travel agencies to help the government to promote Lebanon as a tourismdestination through free of charge media campaign
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 09, 2012, on page 5.