The Lebanese tourism minister said he was ready to “play ball” with no-frills airlines as he seeks to break the “duopoly” of BMI and Middle East Airlines on flights between the UK and Lebanon.
“We have two or three flights a day from Heathrow,” said Mr HE Faddy Aboud.
“I’d like to see flights from Luton, Stansted and Manchester. I’m calling on Ryanair, easyJet and any other low-cost airlines to come and talk to me.”
UK arrivals to Lebanon are up by 25% in 2010, after a couple of years of widespread positive press coverage about the country as a tourist destination.
The Lebanese tourism ministry will underline its commitment to the UK next year by taking on a PR agency and spending £2 million of its £10 million promotional budget in the UK.
The ministry intends to draw attention to the country’s diversity, encouraging visitors to venture outside Beirut, which currently attracts 70% of all tourists.
Mr Aboud hopes to attract a wider diversity of types of tourist, broadening its appeal from gap-year students, the adventure tourism market and medical tourists.