| 28 May 2024, Tuesday |

‘Crazy love:’ Lebanon slogan promotes tourism on back of crisis

The Minister of Tourism in Lebanon has announced a new slogan for the crisis-torn country that aims to portray the country’s precariousness as a source of pride, roughly translating to “I love you in your madness.”

Lebanon is in the grip of a financial and economic meltdown described by the World Bank as one of the deepest depressions in modern history, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and a massive explosion at Beirut’s port that destroyed large parts of the city and killed more than 215 people.

“This will be our touristic identity that the rest of the world will see,” tourism minister Walid Nassar said at a news conference with other senior ministers in Beirut on Thursday.

According to him, the slogan was created for Lebanon at no cost by the Dubai-based advertising firm TBWA.

Walid Kanaan, chief creative officer at TBWA, said it was “near-impossible” to find ways to market a country in the grip of multi-layered economic and political crises, but he found inspiration in the people of Lebanon.

“This is our country, a crazy country with a crazy nightlife, crazy food, and crazy generosity.” “And no matter how crazy the situation in Lebanon is, all we can say is, ‘we love you in your madness,'” Kanaan said as he unveiled the slogan.

The new catchphrase, which was originally a lyric in a song by Lebanese star singer Fairuz released prior to the outbreak of Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war, will be displayed on planes of Lebanon’s national carrier Middle East Airlines and used in social media campaigns, according to Kanaan.

“A crazy love,” will be the official English translation. Tourism, which has historically been a major component of Lebanon’s economy, has declined dramatically since late 2019.

According to the former tourism minister, approximately 2 million tourists visited the country in 2018, while media reports citing official figures suggest that number will drop to a few hundred thousand in 2020.

According to industry representatives, thousands of employees in the country’s food, beverage, and hotel industries have been laid off, and hundreds of hotels and restaurants have closed.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati reacted angrily to the slogan.

“If the ministers permit, ‘in your madness we love you’ – Lebanon is not mad – perhaps the way it was managed contributed to that,” the three-time prime minister said.

In response to Mikati’s remarks, Nassar told Reuters that the slogan was “bold, because Lebanese tend to go to extremes a lot.”

“In everything, we are extreme,” he said. “In love, in hatred, and in patriotism.” “We take everything to its logical conclusion.”

  • Reuters