NNA - Ecotourism has become increasingly popular across Lebanon during the times of Corona, enabling people to marvel over more of the country’s picturesque and sublime mountains and valleys while avoiding overcrowding and respecting social distancing measures to help curb the spread of Covid-19.
Simultaneously, domestic nature getaways have proven to be a great option in light of the country’s dire economic situation; a great many heavy hearted Lebanese have resorted to nature as an affordable means to destress whilst exploring the beauty of rural areas, their natural reserves, heritage, and archaeological treasures.
As Lebanon endures an unprecedented economic downturn, further pummeled by the novel Coronavirus, ecotourism has also helped revitalize the economic cycle in mountainous and countryside regions alike. Global travel restrictions have spurred many vacationers, nature activists, hikers, and even photography enthusiasts to seek internal trekking spots to stretch their legs.
Economically, this has helped pump modest cash to hotels, guest houses, and restaurants nestled in the country’s hills and hollows. Ever since lifting the lockdown, tourist attractions have been offering 50 per cent of their service capacity — in compliance with the rules of Lebanon’s Ministry of Interior and the Coronavirus follow up committee.
Meanwhile, farm-to-consumer shopping of diverse agricultural products has also become a trend to many who sought to avoid the soaring and fluctuating prices of goods in commercial supermarkets.
In support of ecotourism, Lebanon’s Environment Council has been organizing a variety of nature trips to different parts of Lebanon, says Environment Council Head, Dr. Antoine Daher.
“Last week’s hiking trip was to the upper mountains of Akkar, North Lebanon. The trekking trail was along the English route, which is the path that the British used during the Second World War to transport timber and cedars to construct the railroad that connected Palestine to the Lebanese coast and Syria,” adds Daher, who also regrets “the massive environmental catastrophe that this project has left behind.”
“We later headed down to ‘Jouret el-Mina’ — a small flat area of majestic beauty adorned with trees, and then went up to ’Medwarat’, where we met with herders who explained to us their way of life in the forest,” adds Daher, who doesn’t fail to describe the mouthwatering traditional meals that were served by Akkar locals “only to add an unforgettable taste to the trip.”
Daher then announced that a team of tour guides has been trained by the Environment Council, over a period of 12 months, with the aim of boosting ecotourism in Akkar and other regions across Lebanon.