Rural Tourism Strategy launch
On 11 February 2015 Prime Minister Tamam Salam and the Ministry of Tourism launched the new initiative, “Rural Tourism Strategy for Lebanon,” in the Grand Serail. The move marked a transformative change of approach to tourism in Lebanon with hopes to secure a more sustainable future and boost rural economies around the country. At the conference Salam said “I would like to thank Minister Pharaon for initiating this national strategy, and we really hope that this project prospers and lives up to our aspirations and expectations,” adding, “Tourism was, and is still one of our greatest national concerns, for God has bestowed this natural bliss upon Lebanon, and it is our duty to preserve it.”
Minister of Tourism, Michel Pharaon elaborated on the strategy plan, drawing on the success of the Live Love Lebanon campaign which has already achieved a growth of 15 percent in tourism since launching. “Even though rural tourism at the moment does not constitute more than five percent of the overall tourism in Lebanon, we are confident that in five years rural tourism will grow between 15 to 20 percent, creating job opportunities and safeguarding our heritage in all regions,” Pharaon said.
The launch of the Rural Tourism Strategy gives hope to the tourism field and if successful will decentralize the tourist economy from the major cities and help to preserve the country’s natural, religious, and agricultural heritage.