Lebanon is slashing airfares and hotel rates this week in to revive its tourism industry, which is reeling from the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

Middle East Airlines, the national carrier, is offering discounts of up to 50 per cent on selected packages for a 50-day period starting on Tuesday, while Fadi Abboud, the minister for tourism, says he has asked local politicians to tone down their rhetoric while the promotion is on. “We’re trying to change the mood,” he explains.

The government-led discount campaign reflects how the conflict in Syria has hurt tourism in Lebanon, which depends on direct and indirect revenues from the sector for more than a quarter of its gross domestic product.

Photo Credit: A tourist visits the castle at Sidon, Lebanon. Heather Cowper / Flickr.com