Known for her popular travel program “Voyage Voyage,” Elsa Yazbek Charabati is as passionate about travel off-screen as she is on it. We spoke to the accomplished presenter, TV personality and university professor about her show and her favorite places in Lebanon.
How did you start “Voyage Voyage”?
“Voyage Voyage” is a real journey in itself. I started the concept on TV by creating and presenting a show dedicated to traveling: talking about my trips and sharing my travel experiences. The viewers loved it. Then, two years ago, I decided to adapt the concept for social media by creating “Voyage Voyage bi Lebnen” in order to show the amazing country we have and all of its hidden gems.
After the huge success of the first season, here we are launching “Voyage Voyage bi Lebnen” season two.
Why do you think people are becoming more interested in sustainable tourism?
More than a trend, sustainable and local tourism has become a necessity: a need to breathe after the numerous lockdowns, a need to reconnect with our roots and a need to discover new places and change our mood. Sustainable tourism allows us to experience a destination in an authentic way and introduces us to local producers, artisans and small businesses.
Which summer destination in Lebanon is your favorite and why?
That’s a difficult question to answer. Last year, we shot an episode of “Voyage Voyage bi Lebnen” in Zahle, my mom’s hometown. It was wonderful to rediscover the place. I also love Anfeh for its vibrant blue, which permeates the coastal town.
Can you name some of your top hidden gems in Lebanon?
There’s a tiny island off the coast of Tyre that I love. The sunsets in Akoura are also fantastic, and there’s a seraglio in Bikfaya that’s quite magnificent. Lebanon is blessed with countless hidden gems, it’s hard to name them all.
I’ve never lived abroad, and I thought I knew my country really well. Yet here I am dazzled like a child when I discover a new treasure. Despite everything, Lebanon has not finished unveiling its beauty.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Traveling! When it’s not possible to travel literally, my mind wanders to exotic places.
What’s your greatest wish for Lebanon?
I hope that the Lebanese can have as much pride for their country as they have for their hometown or village. Our country is precious, and we must work together for a better Lebanon.