This historic country has always held a unique position in the Middle East as a dynamic destination, offering a highly diverse range of business opportunities for would-be investors. While it has a broad range of well-established industries, the five key sectors that have been experiencing continuous growth are education, medical, tourism, F&B, accommodation, and design and manufacturing.

Despite the fact that regional/internal political and economic instabilities have dampened its potential growth, these conditions have also driven its various industries to seek alternative solutions that have proven exceptionally creative. Furthermore, due to its strategic geographical location, the country offers investors many lucrative incentives and business opportunities thanks to its free market economy, a liberal financial environment, great investment incentives, a banking secrecy system and a non-discriminatory legal framework. In addition, Lebanon offers a wide variety of year-round touristic attractions and activities. Within its ambience of hospitality and warmth, the country continues to serve as the business, cultural, academic and touristic center of the MENA region.

According to the 2017-2018 Global Competitiveness Report, Lebanon ranks 18th for education quality (90% literacy rate); the first among Middle Eastern universities; with 20% of the MENA's 100 company founders being Lebanese - the highest rate in the world. It also has access to 537 million people, has numerous free-trade agreements with the EU and the Arab world as well as significant US investment agreements, four maritime ports and direct shipping lanes to 56 ports throughout the world. Lebanon ranks 45th on soundness of bank indicators, with access to numerous funding programs.

Based on figures published by the Lebanese Ministry of Industry, the Lebanese Customs Authority and a recent report by BLOM Bank, the country has maintained steady growth over the past three years (averaging 7.5% annually) due to a resilient economy favoring foreign direct investments. With a strong market potential and an increased demand for new infrastructure and tourism projects, the country is bursting with opportunities and developments. As the main Middle Eastern port on the Mediterranean, Lebanon is also the business gateway to neighboring countries in the Levant, offering access the rest of the world. 

According to a report by BLOM Invest, the Lebanese tourism sector is a key driver of economic growth and job creation. In fact, tourism’s direct contribution, which represents the economic activity generated solely by hotels, travel agencies, airlines, restaurants and touristic leisure facilities accounted for 6.5% of GDP (or USD 3.32 billion), creating 131,500 jobs (6.4% of total employment) in 2017 and an estimated 138,000 jobs (6.6% of employment) in 2018.

This growth is further compounded by a recent report by Global Blue, the world-class tax-free shopping provider, stating that tax-free spending increased by 9.5% in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. According to the Ministry of Tourism, the number of tourists increased 3% in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period the previous year, reaching 853,000 tourists. European tourists topped the list (300,000), followed by Arabs (245,000), and Americans (155,000).

Based on the same BLOM Invest report, the number of passengers at Beirut International Airport hit 6.9 million travelers by the end of Q3 2018, adding an annual 9.83%, the total number of tourist arrivals increased by a yearly 3.88% to reach 1.50 million tourists by summer 2018. Furthermore, a government report by the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) latest research ranked Lebanon 36th worldwide in terms of travel and tourism’s total contribution to GDP, which maintained its level at 19.4% in 2016 (around USD 9.2 billion), exceeding by far the world’s 10.2% average.

Another positive indicator prompting further interest for potential investors is found in the Business Monitor International report, which states that over the long term, Lebanon is still appealing as it provides a commercial link between the West and the Middle East, thereby attracting more investment to further enhance the performance of the F&B industry.

The F&B sector comprises the largest number of industrial establishments, with 1,219 producers accounting for 18.2% of the total industrial enterprises, according to ‘The Food and Beverages Sector’ published by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture in Beirut (CCIAB).

In line with these findings, BMI’s forecast report on Lebanon’s F&B industry for the period 2017 -2021 expects that sector to remain resilient and most likely progress at a stable rate over the next five years. However, this specific industry, according to BLOM Invest is showing phenomenal growth in the clusters segment across Lebanon with eight established F&B clusters already operating, which together hold over 70 restaurants and pubs. The success of F&B clusters is not surprising given the lifestyle of the Lebanese. 

Other highly-promising facts and figures in the report show that tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in Lebanon, with an average of 9% annual growth over the last three years. The sector is expected to grow 5.8% per annum between 2017 and 2027 to reach USD 16.5 billion by end of 2027.

Lastly, based on an interview by Hospitality Services with Tony Rami, president of the Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafes, Night-clubs & Pastries in Lebanon, over 1,500 F&B establishments have opened in the country over the past five years, exhibiting a 20% rate of growth.

Lebanon’s tourism and hospitality industries are buoyant, beyond all expectations, prompting lucrative investment opportunities that are too good to miss out on.

To make the most of your stay in Lebanon, visit lebanontraveler.com






Baalback, Bekaa Dei El Kamar, Chouf Qadisha Valley, North
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Downtown, Beirut Raouché, Beirut Cedars, North
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