Beirut ranked 20 in the list of the world's top tourist destinations, the Ministry of Tourism announced on Thursday.
"Beirut came before Paris, Melbourne, Venice and Barcelona on the list of tourism magazine Conde Nast Traveler,” the ministry said in a released statement, noting that the magazine's annual list is based on “its readers' choices.”
1.3 million readers participated in this year's vote, according to the same source.
In its feature, the international publication described Beirut as “Paris of the Middle East.”
"Beirut has a lot to offer to tourists such as the best restaurants and the most exclusive clubs in the world,” it said.
The article noted that the city offers a “tapestry of sects, religions, and lifestyles that provide a feast for the mind of the intellectual.”
The Tourism Ministry pointed out in its statement that this is not the first time Beirut is classified as a top international tourist destination.
It detailed: “In 2009, the New York Times considered the Lebanese capital as the international tourist destination while the Financial Times called it a 'sleepless city.'”
"This is a conclusive evidence on the status Beirut enjoys internationally and on the huge potentials Lebanon has. This puts an end to efforts exerted to tarnish Lebanon's reputation and image through describing the situation as catastrophic and miserable.”
The ministry added: “Beirut is still a desired destination worldwide because of its great civilization, its diversity and its wealth.”
The Lebanese capital is a meeting place for international events thanks to its universities, its hotels, hospitals, its trade activities, and the recreation centers it has, the statement elaborated.
"It is a first class tourist destination.”
The ministry urged all local factions “to collaborate in this stage and benefit from the positive image that Beirut has gained on both the economical and touristic levels.”
“We also call on foreign aviation lines to take into consideration Beirut's touristic status and strive to adopt friendlier contracts with Lebanon."
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