Ru­ral life

Lebanon Traveler - - EDITORIAL - Le­banon Trav­eler Ed­i­to­rial Team

As color slowly spreads across the land­scape, the coun­try’s ru­ral re­gions come to life. Clear blue skies and crisp moun­tain air mark the be­gin­ning of spring and what looks set to be a pos­i­tive year for the tourism in­dus­try. The coun­try’s Ru­ral Tourism Strat­egy was launched at The Grand Serail on 11 Fe­bru­ary; an iconic shift to the coun­try’s ap­proach to tourism which aims to kick­start lo­cal economies in ru­ral ar­eas, high­light the wealth of the coun­try’s nat­u­ral, cul­tural and agri­cul­tural her­itage and cre­ate a more sus­tain­able fu­ture. It’s this phi­los­o­phy that’s at the very core of Le­banon Trav­eler mag­a­zine.

For this is­sue we look at Le­banon’s sig­nif­i­cance as a stop along the route of mi­gra­tory birds and un­der­line the im­por­tance of their preser­va­tion. We fo­cus on the West Bekaa and ex­plore its nu­mer­ous des­ti­na­tions from the Am­miq Wet­land to im­por­tant re­li­gious sites and an­cient trails through na­ture. The Food Her­itage Foun­da­tion takes us on a tour of the coun­try through Wild Ed­i­ble Plants and meets the vil­lagers con­tin­u­ing this old tra­di­tion and we also stop by Ba­troun and speak to the grow­ing com­mu­nity of Le­banese surfers who live for the waves.

We meet the peo­ple ded­i­cated to their re­gions from Du­nia El Khoury, the founder of the Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion of Deir Al Ah­mar in North East Bekaa ded­i­cated to em­pow­er­ing lo­cal women and pre­serv­ing the vil­lage’s sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ment, to renowned artist Rudy Rahme, who’s grand wooden sculp­tors are a di­rect re­flec­tion of the na­ture of his home­town of Bcharre and in­ter­twined with Le­banon’s rich cul­tural her­itage.

We fo­cus in on cul­ture, from the an­cient bell-mak­ing vil­lage of Beit Shabab, where crafts­man Naf­fah Naf­fah con­tin­ues the fam­ily her­itage that stretches back three cen­turies to a spot­light on the bru­tal­ist build­ings of Beirut through the Arab Cen­ter for Ar­chi­tec­ture and we in­ter­view Gem­mayzeh-based designer Sibylle Tamer Al­bil­ama.

We’ve also ex­tended the mag­a­zine to give you a hands-on guide to restau­rants and ru­ral guest­houses, along with a food trail around Bourj Ham­moud and in­sider tips from pas­sion­ate foodie Ka­mal Mouza­wak, the founder of Souk el Tayeb and Mar Mikhael’s Tawlet. And we want Le­banon Trav­eler to be your guide. Grab your copy and head out­doors and let it lead you to the high­lights our coun­try has to of­fer.

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