unctad.org | National Action Plan Implementation Workshop on Ecotourism in Lebanon
National Action Plan Implementation Workshop on Ecotourism in Lebanon
13 September 2018
Beirut, Lebanon

Key Issues

As part of the National Green Export Review (NGER) project supported by UNCTAD and Lebanon’s Ministry of Tourism, the Ecotourism Ad Hoc Committee Members held their National Action Plan Implementation Workshop at the Ministry of Tourism’s Conference Hall on Thursday 13 September 2018.

Dr Nada Sardouk, Director-General of the Ministry opened the workshop welcoming the progress that has been made in action plan implementation. Twenty participants then exchanged their views on the latest findings and progress achieved in implementing the priority actions related to the ecotourism component of the NGER. Moderated by Dr Jacques Samoury, UNCTAD National Expert on Ecotourism, their presentations reported on progress achieved in implementing the following actions:

Product diversification and development of ecotourism

Participants agreed that Lebanon must conserve and differentiate its assets in order to stand out in the competitive market of ecotourism. Actions underway include:

  • Encouraging ecotour operators to organize low-impact and non-invasive packages to natural landscapes and undisturbed environments.
  • Encouraging visitors to interact with local communities to contribute to the economic and social regeneration of rural areas, the conservation of nature and the preservation of local culture.
  • Enhancing linkages between ecotourism and related rural goods and service businesses such as (guesthouses, local eateries, artisanal shops, mountain and cultural guides, etc.).
  • Strengthening value-added chains in the agro-food and handicrafts industry and promoting fair trade and direct access to tourist markets for farmers, agro-food producers and craftsmen. Vamos Todos Ecotours and Fair Trade Lebanon (FTL) presented their cooperation to realize this objective. Specifically FTL identifies fair trade Lebanese terroir products whose production offers a sustainable economic model for farmers and women cooperatives in rural regions, while Vamos Todos arranges for its tours to visit the FTL approved sites.

Marketing and promotion of ecotourism

As ecotour operators have already begun to negotiate contracts with foreign travel agencies to develop this sector for increased future touristic visitors, participants described current efforts to promote the sector, including:

  • Creating online platforms for different ecotourism sites to publish promotional news items. Representatives of Shouf Biosphere Reserve, Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve, WADA Association, Lazzab Dannieh Nature Reserve presented their achievements in this area.
  • Activating ecotourists’ use of information technology through e-promotion, mobile applications and social media. The Daskara project team (from the American University of Beirut National Conservation Center) presented its unique and free digital platform enabling everyone interested to explore local natural and cultural sites of Lebanon and actively engage in conservation and sustainable development by donating to sustainable projects in specific villages. Daskara benefits a broad society of users including local residents and business owners, tourists, expats and members of the Lebanese diaspora, environmentalists, experts and academics. Daskara offers a directory of nature and culture, an e-commerce tool for handmade and homemade products, a marketing tool for organizers and promoters of events and activities and a fundraising platform to help secure funds to support local initiatives by matching projects with donors. Daskara’s App will soon be ready for active implementation.
  • Establish a National Ecotourism Society whose principle role will be to regulate the ecotourism sector in Lebanon and coordinate with International Ecotourism Society (IETS).

Favorable security conditions for the ecotourism sector in Lebanon

Many presentations indicated that Lebanon continues to witness favorable security conditions, unlike other neighboring countries, and it has observed a constantly growing flow of foreign visitors. During the past tourist season, several international festivals were held in various regions of Lebanon and hosted a large number of spectators coming from all corners of the world, such as Baalbeck International Festival; Byblos, Beiteddine and Tyre Festivals in addition to many other many local festivals that have exceeded the number of fifty and created an internal economic synergy. In fact, no adverse security incidents occurred for tourists during their stay regarding their safety and security.

Nevertheless, participants emphasized that external factors continue to reduce Lebanon’s potential as an ecotourism destination. They noted that foreign media and international news agencies often report only crisis news about Lebanon, and many governments maintain adverse travel advisories for tourists interested in visiting Lebanon. Both of these practices substantially reduce Lebanon’s position relative to other tourism nations. On this issue it was mentioned that the Ministry of Tourism continues in its efforts to request foreign governments to favourably revise their negative travel advisories for Lebanon.

Co-organized with:Lebanon’s Ministry of Tourism
Mr. Robert Hamwey Robert.hamwey@unctad.org
Related Sites:

 Trade and Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Branch

National Green Export Reviews


Ministry of Tourism, Lebanon



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