Since 2002 Lebanon’s Ministry of Tourism has shown an increasing interest in the development and promotion of responsible tourism throughout the country.
A workshop held recently in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre, reinforced the ministry’s notion of tourism as a fundamental sector for the country’s economic future, while raising awareness of responsible eco-tourism in the framework of green economy and sustainable development.
Organized by ESCWA in collaboration with UNIFIL and Union of Tyre Region Municipalities, the workshop tackled the challenges facing the development of responsible eco-tourism in south Lebanon, as well as what the south itself can do in terms of tourism promotion, marketing and development to and within the region. The participants also discussed future steps that should be taken, including options for a regional action plan, a mapping exercise of potential facilities and gaps related to responsible eco-tourism, and the accessibility of funds to promote and develop such projects and concepts.
The ministry emphasized the role of eco-tourism in South Lebanon and the many opportunities it could bring to the local society and the region’s economy. Tyre boosts a rich historical heritage, as well as archaeological treasures that a great number of travelers have visited over centuries. The region has great potential for the promotion of cultural tourism, as well as religious tourism especially when the significant number of Christian and Muslim sanctuaries and relics it possesses are taken into account.
Over the years, ESCWA has been involved in a number of activities at the regional and national level, promoting Green Economy and Sustainable Development approaches to socio-economic development in member countries, while UNIFIL actively cooperates with local municipalities and NGOs, supporting a number of small-scale projects, including Quick Impact Projects (QIPs), which contribute to an improved environment.