In this summer issue of Lebanon Traveler, Pascal Abdallah takes us on a dream-like journey to the azure blue beaches of the Tyre Coast Nature Reserve, and tells us about the World Tourism Awards
For your summer responsible tourism destination, I propose that you visit the Tyre Coast Nature Reserve.
Apart from the Palm Island Nature Reserve, it is the only governmentel regulated marine nature reserve in Lebanon. Other protected areas along the Lebanese coast are the locally managed Hima El-Qleyle and the privately owned Al-Mansoury, both in south Lebanon.
In an effort to sustainably manage the coast, the Tyre Coast Nature Reserve is divided into three main zones from north to south:
1. The Integrated Touristic Zone
2. The Conservation Zone
3. The Integrated Agriculture Zone
Your day starts at the Park House, where the Nature Reserve’s director, Hassan Hamzi, welcomes and introduces the nature reserve to you.
A short walk on the sandy beach of the touristic zone leads you to the conservation zone, where you learn about the flora of the typical sand dunes and bird-watch from inside the specially installed observation kiosk, overlooking the natural fresh water pond. Some of you might like to spend time relaxing and looking at the clear blue sea while waiting for the marine crabs to pop out of their holes.
Continue your visit with a short car transfer to the southern part of the nature reserve, the agriculture zone. Here one can discover the historical Ras El-Ain fresh water ponds and learn how the Phoenicians used to manage water resources in a very efficient way. There are many activities you can participate in to appreciate the local marine and agricultural environment: green bean or watermelon harvesting with local farmers or discovering the fauna of the artificial pond (fresh water crabs, fresh water turtles, ducks, water snakes, etc…)
End your day by having a snack on the wooden stand overlooking the pond or continue into Tyre city and have lunch in one of its many quaint restaurants around the old port. For those wanting to swim, Hamzi will lead you to the touristic zone where you can rest and have lunch in one of the seasonal contractual kiosks.
The best season for visiting the Tyre Coast Beach Resort is spring and fall for walking and biodiversity activities, and summer for short discovery and swimming activities.
Celebrating responsible tourism stars
The World Responsible Tourism Awards were founded in 2004 to celebrate and inspire change in the tourism industry. The Awards rest on a simple principle – that all types of tourism, from niche to mainstream, can and should be organized in a way that preserves, respects and benefits destinations and local people.
On its website, the founders stafed, “We want to celebrate the shining stars of responsible tourism – the individuals, organizations and destinations working innovatively with local cultures, communities and biodiversity. But, more than that, we want their examples to inspire others. That’s why we’ve got the most rigorous judging process around, and work with the best partners in the industry to help us get the word out – to ensure that their stories provide an example to the industry”.
Since they were founded in 2004, the awards have attracted over 12,000 nominations from members of the public, leading to 201 unique organizations, awarded from 51 countries the. This is the 10th edition year of the World Responsible Tourism Awards and the headline sponsor this year is the Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Tourism, which is committed to developing a range of quality tourism products that not only promote cultural integrity and environmental protection, but also lead to a diverse and sustainable tourism industry both in the Sultanate and overseas.
How do the awards work?
Rather than handpick nominees, the organization relies on travelers and the industry to nominate those tourism ventures with exciting stories to share. This makes the Awards unique – the winners are not pre-decided. Every year the Awards platform teams up with media partners to invite the public to make their nominations, and every year this process yields hundreds of unique nominees.
“The companies recognized in the awards are those who are able to document the difference they are making in people’s lives and their cultures and natural environment… The Awards go beyond certification – we get to see what companies and destinations are actually doing. “ Professor Harold Goodwin (ICRT)
World Responsible Tourism Awards 2013
Organizing partners: World Travel Market (WTM) and International Center for Responsible Travel (ICRT)
The award’s major categories
• Economic Responsible Tourism: Impact of the local economy
• Environmental Responsible Tourism: Water conservation
• Social Responsible Tourism: Child protection
• Responsible tourism campaigning
• Best Responsible Tourism Destination
• Best Wildlife Responsible Tourism
• Creative contribution to Responsible Tourism in photography
• People’s choice in responsible tourism
Where to stay
Local guesthouse Al-Fanar in old Tyre
Walid Salha +961 3 665016.
Who to contact
Hassan Hamzi +961 3 876837
Responsible Mobilities +961 3 451113