Lebanon Businessnews News

Plan to boost tourism from Eastern Europe
Discounted tours focus on
beaches, sightseeing, nightlife
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The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) will be working closely with Russian and Ukrainian travel agencies to stimulate the inflow of tourists from these countries.

The Middle East Airlines (MEA) has already agreed to implement this strategy through increasing the number of daily flights from Moscow to Beirut. Khaled Aridi, Incoming Manager at Nakhal Travel, said: “The Eastern European markets are highly active and have great potential as tourists coming from these countries are often from the upper social class and have a relatively high purchasing power.” Aridi said: “They mainly stay in four and five stars hotels, and spend in high-end stores.”

Incoming trips from Russia and Ukraine will increase as long as the offers are attractive and the situation is stable, Aridi said. Tourists from Ukraine and Russia seek mostly beach holidays and nightlife, according to Aridi: “This is why packages targeting these tourists must include beach breaks and nightlife, along with visits to natural reserves such as Jeita.”

Discounted packages (accommodation in a four-star hotel for a week) start at $400. Visas are given upon arrival.

However, the number of tourists from these countries is still minimal, and does not exceed five percent of the overall tourists number. “Egypt, Dubai, Turkey, and Israel are severe competitors when it comes to Eastern European tourists,” Aridi said.

In line with this strategy, several tourist agencies have been working on marketing local tourism through regional agencies. “We have started working closely with Turkish tourism agencies to include Beirut in their tours as a must-visit city,” Aridi said. The regional circumstances did not help tourism, especially when it comes to the persisting turmoil in Syria.
Reported by Rana Freifer
Date Posted: Apr 16, 2013
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