18 Feb 2016

Reviving Tourism with the Help of the Diaspora and Online Networking

Lebanon: An Attractive Tourist Industry Many countries rely on tourism to help their economies and Lebanon is no exception. Lebanon may have had its fair share of setbacks over the decades, but this small Arab country penned the ‘Switzerland of the Middle East’ has still managed to build and maintain a desirable image for tourists. Lebanon’s lively nightlife, renowned cuisine, cultural heritage sights, booming retail coupled with friendly natives having a liberal outlook has always made it a magnet for tourists, especially for those who appreciate its unique East-meets-West flavor.   The Lebanese Diaspora’s Potential Contribution But Lebanon does not need to wait for tourists from other countries to fill its hotels and nightspots, as it has a large Lebanese diaspora (estimated at 14 million) ready to visit their relatives or simply re-connect with their roots. Capitalizing on the Lebanese diaspora can be a sure bet to boost the economy and this year the Ministry of tourism promises to work with various municipalities of Mount Lebanon to launch a national awareness program on summer tourism for the Lebanese diaspora worldwide.   The idea is to implement new methods to encourage Lebanese emigrants to come spend the summer in the villages of their families or ancestors. In addition to staying and seeing the capital Beirut, tourists will be encouraged to go to the outskirts and villages to stay in guesthouses, smaller hotels and see the regional sights.   Connect Online to Foster the Lebanese Economy In order to get the Lebanese Diaspora to know more about the less travelled rural areas, this program attempts to bridge this gap and faciliate communication between the Lebanese abroad and those in the service and tourism sector, through the use of strategic online marketing and the exchange of information.   Another means to boost the local economy and connect Lebanese worldwide and Lebanese entrepreneurs is via a platform known as Lebanon Business Network (LBN).   This unique portal invites all Lebanese to register their business and/or services free of charge so they can build partnerships and make future business deals with one another. LBN allows people from all sectors, to market themselves in a comprehensive way online.   Thanks to a new strategy for the tourism sector and the growing influence of LBN, Lebanon may soon see a boost in its economy brought on by its very own people connecting with each other…