Lebanese minister: Security woes drives tourism down by 27%

August 6, 2013 13:53


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BEIRUT - Security concerns and travel restrictions from Gulf Arab states have driven Lebanese tourist arrivals down by 27 percent during the small Mediterranean state's peak season, Lebanon's caretaker tourism minister said.

Lebanon's beaches, bars and historical sites are a draw for tourists but the country is feeling the effects of the war in neighboring Syria, where 100,000 people have been killed in a two-year conflict between rebels and President Bashar Assad.

Tourism figures were already sharply down last year, with 1.5 million visitors compared to a peak of 2 million in 2010, the year before Syria's uprising erupted. Lebanon's tourism industry accounted for nearly a fifth of GDP a few years ago. Now some hotels are reporting occupancy rates of less than 10 percent in the summer months.

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