Lebanon Businessnews News

Travel and tourism
expected to rise five percent
Sector represents eight percent of GDP
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The direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to GDP in 2015 was eight percent, totaling $3.6 billion, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The contribution reflects internal spending by residents and non-residents, for business and leisure purposes, as well as the Government’s 'individual' spending such as cultural or recreational spending.

Forecast to rise by five percent this year, the travel and tourism sector is expected to increase seven percent per annum over the next ten years, reaching $7.3 billion and representing around 11 percent of total GDP.

Pierre Achkar, Chairman of the Syndicate of Hotel Owners, said: “This rise was expected and is due to the increase in the number of visiting expatriates.”

International festivals and the increase in sophisticated food and beverage clusters have helped contribute to the tourism sector.

Jean Abboud, Chairman of the Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies, said: “The increase is due to the increase in domestic tourism activity.”

The total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP was around ten billion dollars last year, representing around 22 percent of GDP.

Travel and tourism directly supports 121,000 jobs which accounts for eight percent of total employment. This is expected to increase by four percent in 2016, rising to 188,000 jobs by 2026.

Foreign visitors generated seven billion dollars. This is expected to grow by three percent in 2016, reaching $12.6 billion in 2026.

Abboud said that these positive signs were not due to the increase in occupancy rates, or car rentals, and not even from foreigners.

“These visitors consisted of expatriates, as Arab tourists were minimal,” he said.

Travel spending in the leisure segment generated 87 percent of the direct contribution of travel and tourism to GDP last year, accounting for $7.5 billion, compared with 13 percent for business travel spending ($1.1 billion).

Travel and tourism investment reached $1.3 billion last year, accounting for ten percent of total investment. It is expected to rise by 5.6 percent this year, reaching $2.5 percent by 2026. Abboud said that these investments are for hotels and resorts, and not for travel agencies.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Date Posted: Aug 19, 2016