Iraqi Tourists Top Visitors List to Lebanon

Iraqi Tourists Top Visitors List to Lebanon

Shafaq News/ Official data by Lebanese authorities have shown the Iraqi tourists outnumbering other nationalities in visiting Lebanon this year, with a notable penchant for medical tourism.

"The predilection of Iraqis for Lebanon, combined with the country's distinctive tourist and archaeological features, particularly medical tourism, which accounts for approximately 50% of all Iraqi tourists, is the driving force behind this trend," Lebanon's national statistics center said in a report.

In the first four months of this year, Lebanon welcomed 111,128 Arab tourists, half of whom were of Iraqi, the data showed.

Jean Abboud, head of the Lebanese Travel and Tourism Agencies Union, expects the number of Iraqi tourists to reach around 200,000 this year, with half of them coming for medical tourism.

"Saudi tourists were at the forefront in 2010, but their numbers have dwindled considerably due to political reasons that have deterred them from coming."

In line with the increasing demand, the number of flights from Iraq to Lebanon will witness a surge in the coming week. Qais al-Katbi, Director of Iraqi Airways at Beirut Airport, and Muhammad Dakduk, General Agent of Fly Baghdad in Lebanon, confirmed that "the number of flights on Fridays will be 3, on Saturdays 7, and on Sundays 8, with an added flight from Baghdad, and two each from Najaf and Basra."

Al-Katbi added that the number of passengers varies between 160 and 350, with half of Iraqi tourists coming for leisure tourism and the remaining half for medical tourism.

"The Iraqi tourist must feel safe, especially since Iraqis consider Lebanon their second home, and they live amongst their people and friends," he concluded.

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