TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How and when did Lebanon transition into a regional hub for fashion culture and tourism?
JOYCE MOUAWAD: Lebanon was and always will be a hub for culture. We are lucky to have a unique heritage and this is our main strength. We have pillars that allow us to stand strong when facing any storm; tourism is flourishing year-after-year.
However, time is always needed to gain the trust of several markets, nevertheless, despite that, Lebanese expats are always tremendously contributing when enhancing the tourism sector.
Fashion is part of this country’s diversified culture and this is best demonstrated through famous Lebanese designers who have gained international recognition. This place is the hub of several designers who host their fashion collection here and showcase them to all visitors, mostly from the Gulf, Europe and US. Add to that, designers from the Gulf are also regularly exhibiting their collections here to showcase their beautiful work.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Specifically, where are regional travellers coming from who visit the country for its fashion and culture industry?
JOYCE MOUAWAD: Travellers’ are coming from the Gulf and Arab countries and we also have expats from different parts of the world.
They love Lebanon because this country might be chaotic and unorganised with a bad reputation related to its political climate, but what is unique and really different is the spirit that we have. This can never be exchanged or purchased and I believe it was created by a divine power, an act of God that is not explainable. Yes, you can find organised and tidy countries but you can never find the spirit of Lebanon anywhere else. To feel it you have to live it.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Describe the overall national and local climate during the annual Beirut Fashion Week?
JOYCE MOUAWAD: During Beirut Fashion Week we feel that this beautiful event is crowned by the presence of the positive vibes and energy that empower the client to purchase; the media to create the buzz and the designer to be proud of his creation.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What actions are being undertaken to further improve and develop Lebanon's fashion tourism industry?
JOYCE MOUAWAD: Lebanon is not adequate for mass tourism and this is due to its capacity to host a certain number of visitors. In addition to that, this land was always known to host famous and well-known talents.
Fashion is very important in terms of hosting international designers who are ready to exhibit in such a beautiful environment.
We are ready and always have been since we have amazing places where fashion shows can be held. Our visitors will always have and feel true Lebanese hospitality. No matter when and where, we are ready. This beautiful hospitality emanates from the heart.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How is Lebanon's tourism industry promoting the country's fashion culture across the wider MENA region?
JOYCE MOUAWAD: Lebanon’s Ministry of Tourism is very active when promoting Lebanon as the place to be for fashion, culture and nightlife, while always insisting on the true Lebanese experience.
Its not only about fashion, its about the things that you might do when here, while feeling happy and wanting to stay longer to do more.