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Lebanon’s winter season attracting more tourists this year

© MMkhammach Panoramio

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Lebanese Tourism Minister Michel Pharaon reports that tourism numbers in Lebanon increased in January 2015 by 22.6 percent compared to January 2014.

Pharaon says this year’s heavy snowfall has made for a good skiing season, which is a main attraction for foreign tourists.

“We hope to be able to maintain such an improvement in the number of visitors in February, especially since the skiing season is successful this winter and prices of tickets to Lebanon have dropped lately,” Pharaon said.

Middle East Airlines reduced its former fuel surcharge from 15 percent to 7.5 percent, after the recent drop in oil prices.

The statement said that the number of Arab visitors reached 34,734 during January 2015, showing an increase of 38.4 percent compared with January 2014. The majority of tourists came from Iraq, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

The statement added that visitors from Europe and the United States increased this month by 13.9 percent and 16 percent, respectively. France, Germany, and British visitors were most common, according to the report.

Visitors from the United States made up 14.9 percent of total tourists during January.

The Ministry reports that there were 90,784 tourists in January 2015, compared with last year’s 70,090.

Winter sports in Lebanon are becoming more in demand due to the close geographical location of the mountain peaks from the Mediterranean sea. Lebanese winter sports include alpine skiing and cross country in addition to paragliding, snowmobiling, and hiking.

There are more than six ski resorts in the country.

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