Lebanon's unique location and culture have positioned it as the gatekeeper to the Arab world, while its temperate climate and the local devil may care attitude has rendered it an international destination.

The country is also set to receive substantial international investments as it is being viewed as a gateway towards the eventual reconstruction of neighboring Syria, while the election of the president and the increased stability and security has yielded positive economic indicators across the board.

As the fallout from the Syrian civil war raging next door simmers down, Beirut is witnessing a renaissance, largely driven by youthful entrepreneurs. Tourists are flocking into the country at record rates while international companies have taken notice and are investing in a range of startups and incubators.

As is the global trend, startups, forums, and incubators are focused on technology, but for the Lebanese, who indulge their senses like no other, great strides are being made in the food and services sector - the summation of which are displayed full force at HORECA.

The tourism industry is intrinsic to Lebanon's growth and is expected to represent 9.5% of Lebanon’s overall economic activity in 20171, and its contribution to the economy is expected to increase significantly. The industry, which resides atop the pillars of food and beverage, hospitality, and services is expected to grow well beyond its Arab counterparts.

The local movers and shakers of that industry are offered a chance to showcase their talents during HORECA, where artistic flair and refined taste merge with emerging innovators and institutional professionals.

Its latest showcase in April 2017 provided 18,000 visitors with a chance to indulge in 2,500 brands.

The forum, spanning four days, showcased the best and brightest in the foodservice and hospitality sectors. Grueling competitions, the culinary ones among them presided over by Michelin star chefs, left little doubt in anyone's mind as to who’s best at what they do.

Visitors leave the show with the full potential of Lebanon imprinted upon them, while vendors are offered an unrivaled space to showcase their products and services.

The forum, held in BIEL, Beirut's premier exhibition space, is effectively a one-stop shop for anyone keen on cashing in on the growth that Lebanon's food and beverage and hospitality sector is about to witness.

Positive political developments in the hospitality sector are already being felt as hotel occupancy rates in the capital increased from 55% in the first quarter of 2016 to 62% in the first quarter of 2017.2

Between 2017 and 2027 travel and tourism's total contribution to Lebanon's GDP will increase by 5.8% in real terms per annum, surpassing the Middle East average of 4.8%, placing Lebanon in the 35th place out of 185 countries in respect of their annual growth rates in that sector.3

The vibrancy of the food and beverage industry in Lebanon earned Beirut global recognition after Travel and Leisure's named it as the Best International City for Food.4

Beirut's penchants for restless hedonism has spawned international franchises. Zaatar w Zeit started off as a small restaurant catering to university students. It then emerged as a staple of Lebanon's nightlife, a must have snack after a night out on the town. Today its franchises have transcended borders and include locations across the Middle East and Canada.

At HORECA, visitors tap into the innovation and talent of which Zaatar w Zeit represents.

Venture capitalists have also begun to take notice. In 2015, at the height of Lebanon's political and economic woes no less, investment heavyweight Emerging Investment Partners purchased a 51% stake in Backyard Hazmieh, a hospitality and lifestyle destination.5

EIP invests with the ultimate objective of regional growth and expansion across Africa and the Middle East in mind and found the perfect candidate in Backyard Hazmieh.

This innovativeness has not been limited to the food and beverage industry but is also prevalent in the retail market.

ABC was founded in 1936: today it has spread across Lebanon with four branches including two flagship locations. The malls offer world class shopping and dining experiences, in addition to entertainment venues that are on the cutting edge of technology. Its most extravagant location to date was opened in Verdun and was the talk of the town for quite some time.

Beirut has also become an international party destination for its plethora of late-night bars and nightclubs. Many tourists make their way to Beirut to enjoy the clubbing scene, whether at the underground nightspot that is B 018, or at Uberhause, a unique dome-shaped venue. Both places have been singled out by international lifestyle publications.

Accordingly, economic indicators posit a favorable outlook for the alcoholic drinks sector. It is the biggest in the region and is expected to grow at a rapid pace in the years to come. Lebanon is a net exporter of wine, with a trade surplus of $5 million in 2016.6

HORECA is the place to assess what is happening in the foodservice and hospitality industries and what’s on the horizon. Whether you’re an investor or an operator, the event provides unparalleled networking opportunities, and the chance to witness first-hand the latest products and innovations.


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1 http://www.libc.net/2017/03/28/lebanons-travel-tourism-sector-to-generate-7-1-of-direct-economic-activity-in-2017/

2 http://blog.blominvestbank.com/lebanon-registered-significant-rise-hotel-occupancy-rates-q1-2017/

3 http://www.libc.net/2017/03/28/lebanons-travel-tourism-sector-to-generate-7-1-of-direct-economic-activity-in-2017/

4 (http://www.travelandleisure.com/food-drink/worlds-best-cities-for-food).

5 http://executive-bulletin.com/business/announcing-its-first-investment-in-the-fb-industry-in-lebanon-eip-acquires-51-of-the-leading-restaurant-cluster-in-lebanon-intends-to-develop-and-replicate-this-model-locally-and-in-the-mena-region

6 (http://blog.blominvestbank.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/The-Lebanese-FB-industry-Resilient-Amid-Economic-Woes.pdf)