In collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Economy and Trades, and in the presence of H.E Mr. Michel Pharaon Minister of Tourism representing Prime Minister Mr. Tammam Salam, the Lebanese Franchise Association, Beiteddine Art Festival, Shouf Traders Association and Al-shouf Cedar Reserve have jointly launched the ‘Authentic Shouf Campaign” with an aim to promote Shouf as an economic destination, the campaign will unveil the region authentic side and shed the light on its many environmental, historical and cultural assets, from its coastal beaches to its cedars, passing by its most important religious landmarks and heritage sites.
The ceremony, which took place in Mir Amin Palace Hotel in Beiteddine, was inaugurated by Mrs. Noura Joumblat, President of the Beiteddine Festival and Member of the Executive Committee of Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve, and included the launch of the initiative’s advertising campaign and website www.authenticshouf.com . Joumblat welcomed the guests thanking those who ‘exerted constructive efforts to boost the region, encourage investments in it, and work on developing its touristic and production resources.’
As for the president of the Shouf Trades Association, Mr. Elis Nakhleh, explained that “it’s impossible to separate trade from tourism in Shouf, as tourism constitutes one of the main components of the region’s identity. He added that “ the promotion of local produce and services through this initiative will no boubt impact positively the economy and trades of the whole region, if carried out sustainably.
From his end, Mr. Charles Arbid, president of the Lebanese Franchise Association, highlighted “the importance of Shouf ‘s logo being a distinguished trademark representing the products and services of Shouf, and a label that will help improve the quality of the services and products to better match the standards of international trust, paving the way for the export of the region’s products abroad. He also describe the ‘Authentic shouf “ campaign as an umbrella under which the region will be promoted as an economic and tourist destination”, concluding: “ the Shouf gathers us let’s meet, let’s succeed, let us produce, let’s be happy and let’s live.”
Minister of Tourism, Mr. Pharaon, consider from his side that “When we first launched the rural tourism project we have designed 20 to 25 regions in Lebanon and shed the light on their touristic sites to promote them. Our constant observation has always been that the Shouf region includes all kind of tourism ranging from diaspora tourism to cultural, historical, rural, and even religious. When we heard about the initiative, and we knew that you were behind it, we were confident that the result was going to be this success we are witnessing today. And now we know for a fact that this strong collaboration between the private sector, municipalities, non-governmental institutions and ministries would be a quality game- changer for tourism in the years to come.
Minister of Agriculture and Vice-president of Al-Shouf Cedar Reserve, Mr. Akram Chehayeb asserted that “agriculture still represents a main component of Shouf‘s economy and a source of living for hundreds of families”. He went one saying that “the growth of tourism’s activity, particularly the environment and rural tourism, helps marketing the agriculture produce in the local market. Food constitutes the essence of tourism, and having high-quality ingredients relies on a premium and environmentally – friendly agriculture coupled with professional packaging.”
The ceremony was also punctuated by a word from the Minister of Economy and Trade. Mr. Alain Hakim who reiterated that this excellent initiative is synonym to the creativity of the Lebanese individual who knows how to succeed. Today, we are in the need to love our Lebanese agriculture, and our Lebanese tourism. Your initiative is at the center of reinforcing and revitalizing the Lebanese economy and I would like to congratulation you for taking part in an economical resistance act that has been going on for 4 years due to all the conditions surrounding our country.”
During the ceremony the advertising agency M&C Saatchi unveiled a short movie about the nature, cultural and entertainment opportunities that make Shouf a beacon of Tourism for Lebanon =, the advertising agency was also behind the development of the campaign’s website www.authenticshouf.com, which will allow the difference municipalities of Shouf’s villages to announce their initiatives and activities.
The website will comprise of a special section contributing remarkable to the stimulation of the region’s economy by promoting its rural and environmental tourism packages. The latter will contribute in facilitating the organization of tours for guests who wish to discover the hidden gems of Shouf.
Promotional slogans came to adorn the campaign’s launch; motivating attendees with taglines like “Take me to where fragrant trees do not hang on rearview mirrors.” “Take me to where childhood memories never grow old” and “Take me to where the latest collection is the oldest.”