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IDAL chief sees tourism sector growing by more than 30 pct

The chairman of IDAL Nabil Itani. (The Daily Star)

BEIRUT: The head of the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon said Monday that he recently told foreign investors at a gathering in Paris that he expects Lebanon’s tourism sector to grow by over 30 percent in the coming years. Nabil Itani said he spoke during his presentation at the recent Forum de l’Investissement about the wide range of opportunities for investors in Lebanon, adding that foreign direct investment has grown 5 percent annually over the past six years.

“Lebanon has a lot of potential that will allow it to become a major regional destination for investments ... in spite of the [political and economic] conditions in the region,” Itani said in his address to the forum, which ran from Thursday to Saturday in Paris.Itani said that in addition to the tourism sector, investment opportunities are rife in plastic surgery clinics, physiotherapy, specialized medical centers, pharmaceuticals and alternative medicine, as well as online advertising and media.

He added that Lebanon is an ideal location for tapping regional markets for Internet gaming, 3-D films and digital content.

“The technology sector also presents many opportunities in manufacturing components for personal computers and telecoms equipment ... particularly given the high-level and specialized Lebanese labor force,” he said.

The Beirut Chamber of Commerce, which also attended the forum, praised the event as a chance to raise Lebanon’s profile among foreign investors.

“We need to participate in such international events to promote Lebanon’s tourism, trade and attract investments,” said chamber head Mohammad Choukeir.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 16, 2012, on page 5.

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