BEIRUT: The Tourism Ministry launched Tuesday a 50-day campaign of 50 percent discounts in a bid to lure tourists back to Lebanon. “The Lebanese are tired of pessimism, but we assure you that Lebanon is not over ... in spite of economic challenges,” Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud said at a news conference.
“The campaign aims to create a positive atmosphere that will support the economic cycle and allow tourists to visit at competitive prices,” the minister added.
Abboud said packages have been prepared in coordination with Lebanon’s flag carrier Middle East Airlines, hotels and car rental companies.
Prices, including airfares, hotels, and airport transfers would start from $350 for some Gulf Cooperation Council states, $650 for Europe and $2,100 for American destinations.
Restaurants have prepared special menus at discounted prices to accompany the campaign, Abboud said, adding many retailers had started 50 percent discount campaigns.
Abboud added that he was planning to visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates soon to discuss cancelling travel warnings that had been issued by these countries.
Lebanon saw the number of tourists falling by 17.7 percent in the first 11 months of 2012, compared to 2011. Compared to the first 11 months in 2010, the decline is as much as 37.7 percent.
Packages can be accessed on MEA’s website: http://www.mea.com.lb/English/Holidays/Pages/Special50DaysPackage.aspx
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 09, 2013, on page 5.