Introduction and History
The Lebanon Tourism Service was originally created in the 1930s, within the Ministry of National Economy. Its main role was a monitoring and supervision of the industry.
In 1948, the Commissariat Général du Tourisme, de l’Estivage et de l’Hivernage (or CGT) was established to undertake the following tasks:
- To inform ministerial departments about tourism sector needs and to assist with decision-making;
- To promote Lebanon overseas; and
- To monitor private tourism enterprises and professions.
Through the 1960s, CGT played a significant role in promoting Lebanese tourism. Major tourism projects were carried out, and Lebanese attractions were promoted especially in the neighboring countries, which were the largest tourist market for Lebanon.
In 1959, CGT was transferred and annexed to the Ministry of Information, which became the Ministry of Information, Orientation, and Tourism. However, its role declined with the creation in 1962 of the Conseil National du Tourisme, a private association charged with conducting all tasks related to tourism promotion and investment.
The growth of tourism on a global scale led to the creation of the Lebanon Ministry of Tourism in 1966 (law no.21/66, issued on March 29, 1966). The Ministry of Tourism was composed of the Direction Générale des Affaires Touristiques. Decree no.7142, issued on April 20, 1967, defined the specific tasks that fell under the separate responsibility of the National Tourism Council, including overseas promotion and execution of tourism projects. However, this decree was repealed by Decree no.2829, issued on October 10, 1992, which nullified the tasks entrusted to the National Tourism Council and transferred them to the Ministry of Tourism.
The Direction Générale des Antiquités, which was once part of the Ministry of Education and Fine Arts, was attached to the Ministry of Tourism when it was established in 1966. In 1992, it was re-annexed to the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education. However, a department charged with developing tourism at archaeological and historical sites was also created within the Ministry of Tourism.
The Role of the Ministry of Tourism
The Ministry of Tourism, as the official tourism body for Lebanon, is entrusted with the following tasks:
- Promoting tourism
- Regulating, coordinating, and monitoring tourism professions;
- Regulating, coordinating, and monitoring private companies and associations working in the tourism sector;
- Promoting and executing tourism investment projects; facilitating and simplifying rules and requirements related to these projects; and applying laws and regulations related to tourism and tourism enterprises;
- Developing archaeological and historical sites and museums for tourism purposes.