Even if the hostilities between Israel and
Lebanon subside, it may be some time before either countrys
respective tourism industry is able to rebound, according to the
U.N World Tourism Organization.
It is also unclear
what impact the on going war will have on visits to the larger the
Middle East region, according to the UNWTO here.
Up until this
point, the UNWTO said, the Middle East had seen a surge in
tourist arrivals worldwide grew at an annual average of 4%, the
average growth rate of arrivals to the [Middle East] region almost
tripled, leaping from 13.7 million in 1995 to 39.7 last year, UNWTO
The most popular
destinations in the Middle East have been Jordan, Cairo and other
destinations in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.
As an indicator of
its growing popularity, nearly all of the hotels in Lebanon were
full during the first quarter of the year, with tourism posting a
tourism had jumped 25%.
increases occurred despite the fact the U.S. State Department has
long advised U.S. visitors to defer travel to the
But now with Israel
and Lebanon engaged in escalating hostilities, all tourism bets are
The overall problem
for tourism in the area with the current situation are compounded
by the destruction of basic infrastructure and the absence of
normal transportation and communications facilities, service and
information channels, the UNWTO said.
To contact the
reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Michael Milligan at