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Egypt 'dirtiest' place in world, says Lebanon tourism minister

Beirut has been attempting to revive tourism, which nosedived in 2011 [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 November, 2018

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Lebanon's caretaker minister of tourism has said Egypt is one of the dirtiest places in the world and that its population live in graves.

Lebanon's caretaker minister of tourism has said Egypt is one of the dirtiest places in the world and that its population live in graves.

Avedis Guidanian made the disparaging comments in an interview with local newspaper the Daily Star on Monday and blamed negative media reports for Lebanon's lacklustre tourism industry.

"We love to say in the media that Lebanon is covered in trash, that the sea is polluted and that it's the most expensive tourist destination in the world - well, you’ve ruined Lebanon’s image," Guidanian said.

"I mean look at Egypt is there a place dirtier than it? People are louder than us, there is more traffic than here - people live in graves, OK? But there is tourism, because they know how to sell that country," he added.

Guidanian said press coverage of Lebanon's rubbish crisis and pollution was tarnishing the country's image abroad and compared it to his daughter's marriage prospects.

"We have a lot of freedom of the press, which is very important, but it is being used wrongly. I always give the same metaphor: I have a daughter. If I say she doesn't come home, she smokes hashish, she goes out with many men... will anyone proper come and ask for her hand?" he said.

The comments come as Beirut has been attempting to revive tourism, which nosedived in 2011 over fears of spillover from the conflict in neighbouring Syria.

Guidanian said tourism currently makes up 8-10 percent of Lebanon's GDP.

Prior to 2011, Gulf countries fuelled Lebanon's tourism. Guidanian said the country will have to move towards attracting tourists from new markets such as China, Russia, India and Europe.

Lebanon welcomed 1.85 million tourists in 2017, according to the Tourism Ministry, the most since 2.16 million came in 2010.

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