Bikinis and Gambling?

So we are watching the Olympics on Eurosport here in Germany.  Nearly every commercial break is an advertisement by Lebanon’s Ministry of Tourism.  I’ve seen other countries do this as well – Malaysia and India are two that come to mind right away.  Both of those commercials show gorgeous beaches, beautiful hotels, basically a paradise.  Pretty much every time I see the Malaysia commercial I start planning a dream vacation there.

Lebanon has been named one of the top tourist destinations in the world several years running.  Beaches, snow skiing, incredible history, amazing food…  There are a lot of things to draw tourists to this country.

I couldn’t find the exact version of the commercial that we are seeing here in Germany… but this one is pretty close:

What images stick in my mind from watching this commercial?  Bikinis and gambling.  Really?  Is that really what Lebanon has to offer its tourists?  Kind of a bummer that so much money was spent on this ad (imagine the cost to have a commercial during the Olympics!) and yet the athletes had to wear their own warm-ups (covering up the labels with duct tape) in the opening ceremony.

Tourism is struggling this year because of the conflict in Syria.  And what an awesome opportunity to promote Lebanon in front of a huge audience that may never have considered Lebanon as a tourist destination.  I guess it will draw a certain kind of traveler… but in my opinion a great opportunity was wasted to promote the beauty, history and uniqueness of Lebanon.

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