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.