TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How is the current state of tourism in Lebanon?
CYNTHIA FLOUTY: The tourism sector is one of the pillars of the Lebanese economy, but its performance for the coming years hinges on political and security stability, both locally and in the region. We always have hope that the tourism will keep on increasing.
We think this will be a good year if the situation remains stable.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Where do your guests arrive from?
CYNTHIA FLOUTY: When it comes to our guests, they are mostly from the Iraqi, Jordanian and Egyptian market, in addition to the European market and Gulf.
Lebanon is a preferred destination for the Arab speaking countries. And expectations are always exceeded by the Lebanese hospitality.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: In terms of alternative tourism segments what does Lebanon offer?
CYNTHIA FLOUTY: Lebanon offers eco-tourism and religious tourism, in addition to medical tourism. We have a large segment from the Iraqi market in Lebanon who come for medical tourism.
They are very important but they are not enough to cover the demand of the market, especially [because] Lebanon as a touristic country is not well promoted abroad.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What is being done to assist in the growth of alternative segments in Lebanon?
CYNTHIA FLOUTY: The demand for Lebanon increased in the beginning of this year, compared to 2016, due to the unstable political situation in the region and especially after [events in] Turkey in 2016, which led many Arab citizens to change their travel plans from Turkey to Lebanon.
We always aim for more segments such as pharmaceutical and multinational companies.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Which markets are you targeting? What is your strategy going forward?
CYNTHIA FLOUTY: The tourism sector has long been one of Lebanon’s leading economic sectors, this year should be promising, since we got the president elected.
We aim for MICE business, in addition to leisure, it is considered one of the biggest segments in our hotel.
We expanded our market to Iran, we doubled our sales trip to Jordan and Egypt and we aim to target the Turkish market.
Not to forget the Lebanese diaspora, who are considered one of our target markets, especially during the summer season.
We always aim to secure a base business group from different segments and yielding when needed.