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CAPITAL: Beirut POPULATION: Approx. 4 million AREA: 10,452 square kilometers

MONETARY UNIT: The Lebanese Pound

ECONOMY:

Lebanon capitalizes on the initiative of its people and its geographical location to make up for a lack of natural resources. Traditionally, a substantial percentage of the country's income derived from remittances sent by the millions of Lebanese residing overseas. A service-based economic, its trading, banking and financial facilities as well as its free currency market made Lebanon the region's commercial and tourist center before the war. With peace established and reconstruction underway, Lebanon is once again serving as a commercial and tourist capital in the area. About 38% of the country is under cultivation, with wheat, vegetables, fruit, tobacco and olives the main crop categories. There is considerable livestock farming as well. Industry ranges from cement and cables to textiles, clothing, furniture, canned goods and light metals. Tourism, one of the mainstays of the pre-war economy, is being revived. To help strengthen the economy, the authorities have initiated a low income tax schedule to provide investment incentive, increase disposable income and expand the tax base.

CURRENCY AND BANKING:

Movement of currency into and out of the country and all exchange transactions are completely free of any kind of control. Gold and silver coins may be freely exchanged, imported and exported. The monetary unit is the Lebanese pound. Banking is a major industry in Lebanon with strict banking secrecy one of its important features. More than 80 banks operate in the country and transactions are performed efficiently and at low cost

FLAG:

The Lebanese flag is divided into three wide horizontal stripes with red on top and bottom, and a wider white stripe in the middle. In the center of this stripe is a green cedar tree, the emblem of the country.

GOVERNMENT:

Lebanon is a democratic republic with a parliamentary system of government and a cabinet headed by a prime minister. Its constitution is based on the separation of executive, legislative and judicial powers, with a president elected for a six-year term. The 128 members of parliament are elected by a universal adult suffrage for a four-year term. The Lebanese Republic is divided into six regional administrative districts, or Mohafazaat: Beirut, North Lebanon, Mount Lebanon, South Lebanon, the Beqaa and Nabatiyeh.

USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION:

Visitors to Lebanon must have a valid passport and a Lebanese visa. Visas are issued by Lebanese diplomatic missions abroad. Examination of travelers' luggage is carried out rapidly and courteously. All ordinary personal effects are exempt from customs duty. All of the world's great cities are linked by air with Beirut. The Beirut International Airport at Khaldeh (8 km from Beirut) is used by many international airlines plus the national carrier, Middle East Airlines (MEA). In addition several steamship lines connect the ports of Beirut and Jounieh with the rest of the world.

Electric Current: 110 or 220 volts, 50 cycles. It's best to check.

MORE GENERAL INFORMATION
TEMPERATURES IN BEIRUT
OFFICIAL HOLIDAYS