LEBANON: Business as Usual (Part 3)

Meanwhile, thanks to its very well-respected medical services, outstanding facilities and expert doctors, medical tourism has soared throughout the destination, with the Iraqi market accounting for a large proportion of such arrivals.

However, Cynthia Flouty, director, sales and marketing, Mövenpick Hotel Beirut, added, “They are very important, but they are not enough to cover the demand of the market [...].”

In addition to Iraqi patients, more and more international arrivals are visiting Lebanon to undergo cosmetic procedures, in fact, according to Kaade, the country ranks as the second most popular destination worldwide for plastic surgery.

In the face of the volatility of leisure holidaymakers, a segment highly influenced by regional circumstances, medical tourism is a burgeoning niche that is becoming increasingly valuable across the board.

Not alone in this regard, Zein also highlighted that Lebanon is also leading in the MICE business segment, another demonstration of a more diversified offering less susceptible to regional incidents.

According to Sayess, the thriving MICE sector is primarily a result of the country's convenient geographical position which he describes as the ideal meeting place for global delegates.

Sayess elucidated, "Its location between east and west makes it the perfect gateway [for] emerging markets across the Middle East and Europe."

Furthermore, Sayess added that the well connected Beirut Rafic Hairi International Airport along with more than 500 hotels with flexible business facilities enhance the appeal for meeting and event organisers.

nderstanding the potential of the MICE market, hotels are quickly adapting their product to further entice such travellers.

Le Gray is just one of many addresses hoping to enlarge its MICE offering.

Saad outlined, "[...] The hotel is in the final stages of an exciting extension project to include business and events facilities, a new lobby and lobby lounge, an exhibition venue and 16 new guestrooms."

ABUNDANCE OF NATURE

Along with its expansive heritage and leading professional services, Lebanon is distinguished for its unique natural environment.

From the apex of Mount Lebanon to the vast stretch of coastline, the destination also benefits from four distinct seasons.

Holidays in Lebanon are characterised by seasons, with the colder months drawing in hoards of winter sports enthusiasts.

With 300km of piste across six ski resorts, the country has a well established reputation as a top regional ski destination.

Sayess noted that slopes are fully equipped and in close proximity to Beirut, making them ideal for travellers wishing to combine skiing with other activities.

While underscoring that Lebanon stands out in the region for its ski offering, Choukai also said, eco-tourism continues to flourish.

She added, "In the past 10 years, eco-tourism proved to be a very sustainable industry that allows nature lovers to further enjoy and explore this lovely country."

In line with the global trend of sustainable travel and recognising how valuable such sectors are, Nammour said, "[...] We are promoting segments that enhance the environment and the natural aspects, with layers of spirituality and hedonism."