Despite a history of violence that is more seasonal than rational, Lebanon has kept itself out of the last two years of regional conflict and Beirut has flourished for the first time in three decades. Now if they could only get people to visit.
As civil war rages in neighbouring Syria and with tourism from the Gulf non-existent, hardened Lebanese merchants are surviving on a mixed bag of individual initiative, well-off Syrian tourists and help from expats.
Sitting in her lifestyle boutique, with evening gowns displayed opposite a fully stocked bar, Sophie Salame says the Lebanese “always have a plan B.”
“We have had tough times, but I cut costs and by the end of the year came up with better results,” she said.