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The tourism industry in Lebanon has been historically important to the local economy and remains to this day to be a major source of revenue for Lebanon. Before the Lebanese Civil War, Beirut was widely regarded as "The Paris of the Middle East," often cited as a financial and business hub where visitors could experience the Levantine Mediterranean culture.

Lebanon's diverse atmosphere and ancient history make it an important destination which is slowly rebuilding itself after continued turmoil. Lebanon offers plenty: from ancient Roman ruins, to well preserved castles, limestone caves, historic Churches and Mosques, beautiful beaches nestled in the Mediterranean Sea, world renown Lebanese cuisine, nonstop nightlife and discothèques, to mountainous ski resorts.

Significant private investment is currently being made in the modernization and expansion of this sector and international hotel companies have returned to Lebanon. Casino du Liban, which historically constituted a major tourist destination, reopened in 1996. Lebanon is the only country in the Arab world that offers skiing and related winter sports activities. The largest ski resort in the country has been expanded and modernized. The Government believes that, because of the return of peace and stability to the country and with the development of the necessary infrastructure, tourism will again contribute significantly to Lebanon's economy. Lebanon's tourism industry also relies on the large number of Lebanese living abroad, who return regularly to the country during the summer season.

Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon. As there has been no recent population census, the exact population is unknown; estimates in 2007 ranged from slightly less than 1 million to slightly more than 2 million. Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coast, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport. The Beirut metropolitan area consists of the city and its suburbs. The first mention of this metropolis is found in the ancient Egyptian Tell el Amarna letters, dating from the 15th century BC. The city has been inhabited continuously since then.

Beirut is Lebanon's seat of government and plays a central role in the Lebanese economy, with many banks and corporations based in its city centre, Hamra Street, Rue Verdun and Ashrafieh. The city is the focal point of the region's cultural life, renowned for its press, theatres, cultural activities and nightlife. After the destructive Lebanese Civil War, Beirut underwent major reconstruction,[2][3][4] and the redesigned historic city centre, marina, pubs and nightlife districts have once again made it a tourist attraction. Beirut was named the top place to visit by The New York Times in 2009,[5] and as one of the ten liveliest cities in the world by Lonely Planet in the same year.[6]

In 2011 MasterCard Index revealed that Beirut had the second-highest visitor spending levels in the Middle East and Africa, totaling $6.5 billion.

Beirut sits on a peninsula extending westward into the Mediterranean Sea[56] about 94 km (58 mi) north of the Lebanon-Israel border.[57] It is flanked by the Lebanon Mountains and has taken on a triangular shape, largely influenced by its situation between and atop two hills: Al-Ashrafieh and Al-Musaytibah. The Beirut Governorate occupies 18 square kilometres (6.9 sq mi), and the city's metropolitan area 67 square kilometres (26 sq mi).[56] The coast is rather diverse, with rocky beaches, sandy shores and cliffs situated beside one another.


Beirut has a Mediterranean climate characterized by a warm days and nights, yet summers can be virtually rainless. Autumn and spring are cool with rainy winters. August is considered the only really hot month, with a monthly average high temperature of 32 °C (90 °F), and January and February are the coldest months, with a monthly average low temperature of 11 °C (52 °F). The prevailing wind during the afternoon and evening is from the west (onshore, blowing in from the Mediterranean); at night it reverses to offshore, blowing from the land out to sea.

The average annual rainfall is 901 millimetres (35.5 in), with the majority falling in winter, autumn and spring. Much of the autumn and spring rain falls in heavy downpours on a limited number of days, but in winter it is spread more evenly over a large number of days. Summer receives very little rainfall, if any. Snow is rare, except in the mountaineous eastern suburbs, where snowfall is common due to the region's high altitudes. Large snowstorms, however, occurred in 1920, 1942 and 1950

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