Hiking Boosts Lebanon’s Economy In Tough Times
Active outdoor recreation has recently been the main attraction of Lebanese youth, passionate for hunting, hiking, running, swimming and camping.If these activities, however, contribute to encouraging eco-tourism, refueling the economy remains one of its main goal, mainly in rural areas.
While the political and regional volatile conditions have threatened the tourism season this year, on the contrary, eco-tourism particularly hiking, has impacted a variety of many industries in Lebanese areas, such as leisure, transportation and retail trade.
Tourism insiders emphasize that this tourism segment increases local employment and income all year round in villages, offering a diversification of economic activities. By spending money, visitors support more jobs in the communities across the country. Hiking would boost hotel occupancy in the area, restaurant business and help promote the area as well.
Some associations and groups have recently organized numerous events, to lure Lebanese and international visitors alike, eager to enjoy Lebanon’s nature.
Organized by Brummana Hiking Group, a special hike took place in Brummana village in July, . Hikers who came from all Lebanese regions, walked Brummana stair ways, totaling 2012 steps, for almost two hours.A night hike was also organized with a Jordanian group afterward.
The trend continues to grow in other Lebanese areas. The Lebanon Mountain Trail Association (LMT) the first long-distance hiking trail in Lebanon, extend from Al-Qbaiyat in the north of Lebanon to Marjaayoun in the south, a 440-km (275 miles) path that transects more than 75 towns and villages at altitude ranging from 600 meters to 2,000 meters.
The trail is expected to expand job opportunities in rural areas.
Tourism insiders agree that hiking is now a niche to exploit for Lebanon, being expected to lure more visitors in the years to come.
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