BEIRUT: Figures released by the Ministry of Tourism indicate that the number of tourists visitng Lebanon totaled 277,054 in the first four months of 2008, up by 2.6 percent from the same period of 2007. “This increase is not necessarily an indicator of a revival in the tourism sector because the latter’s performance during the said period of 2007 was already sluggish, as it was hit by the political stalemate,” Bank Audi’s Weekly Monitor said.

It added that when compared to the first four months of 2006, during which the sector witnessed a boom, a 20.9 percent plummet in the number of tourists hs been experienced.

It added that Lebanon relies heavily on Arab tourists, and with political setbacks hindering the sector’s productivity in Lebanon, Arab tourists have been gradually shying away from Lebanon as a destination since the summer 2006 events.

“In fact, the number of Arab tourists was 90,394 in the first four months of 2008, down by 14.1 percent from the same period of 2007, noting that the latter period in itself saw a lackluster performance.”