BEIRUT, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- The number of tourists visiting Lebanon increased by 3.3 percent to reach 853,000 in the first half of 2018 from 826,000 in the same period last year, local media reported Friday.
Arab and European tourists accounted for 35 percent of the tourists followed by U.S. citizens for 18.2 percent, Asians for 7.6 percent, and Africans for 6.2 percent, according to Al Iktissad Wal Sinaa, a business magazine.
Meanwhile, four and five stars hotels' occupancy in the first five months of 2018 reached 58.6 percent compared with 65.5 percent last year.
The average room price dropped by 9.7 percent from 113 U.S. dollars in the first five months of 2017 to 102 dollars in the same period in 2018.
Pierre Ashkar, president of the Syndicate of Hotel Owners in Lebanon, told Xinhua in June that tourism activity will witness a remarkable increase only when tourists from the Gulf return to Lebanon.
Last November, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait warned their citizens against traveling to Lebanon due to a political crisis caused by the controversial resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Riyadh which he rescinded soon after.
"Gulf tourists used to make up 60 percent of the total visitors to Lebanon," he said. "Now they constitute 4 percent only."