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Old July 28th, 2009, 12:29 PM   #1
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How's Lebanon? 'Lebanon set for bumper tourist season' this summer

This is the first positive story I've read about Lebanon for a long time.

Most of the times I see it widely reported, it is a politics or military / factional threat story.

So the bumper summer season must mean that there will be some impact on some FTers, too. Did the positive NYT & LP writeups help lure Americans to visit?

What's the story from the locals and expat visitors?

Story: Lebanon set for bumper tourist season
While Lebanon, which has a population of about four million, hosted a total 1.3 million tourists last summer - its best season since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war - hotels this year are almost fully booked already.

"The rate of hotel occupancy in Beirut has already reached 85 percent," said Pierre Achkar, head of Lebanon's hotel owners syndicate.

The rocky beaches of the north and the sandy coasts in the south are buzzing with local and foreign holidaymakers, and restaurants in the renovated heart of Beirut are packed most nights of the week.

Beirut topped the New York Times list of top vacation destinations in January and was listed among the top 10 cities for 2009 by the Lonely Planet for its charm and dynamism.

"Lebanon is poised to reclaim its title as the 'Paris of the Middle East'," the New York Times wrote.
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