A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the Ministry of Tourism Nature and the Conservation Center at the American University of Beirut (AUB-NCC) aiming to achieve cooperation in the field of ecotourism through the exchange of information and expertise.
The memorandum was signed by Ms. Nada Sardouk, General Director of the Ministry of Tourism and Professor Salma Nashabe Talhouk, Chair of the department of landscape design and ecosystem management at the faculty of agricultural and food sciences, project director and representing AUB-NCC.
The conference was inaugurated by the Head of the Tourism Development Department at the Ministry, Ms Mona Fares who stressed on the importance of such programs in developing the tourism sector in Lebanon throughout the year.
The General Director of the Ministry of Tourism, Ms. Nada Sardouk assured that this program falls within the ministry’s mission to work in collaboration with the educational sector to develop the Lebanese ecotourism: “Our strategic directions is to improve the inter-region and sustainable tourism to provide jobs in regional clusters limiting migration to offer a full year tourism in their respective villages. The program tackles the importance of the environmental wealth not only from an economical perspective but also in training municipalities’ personnel to guard and invest in their natural and cultural heritage”.
Professor Salma Nashabe Talhouk emphasized on NCC’s mission for the third year to develop green maps with more than 50 Lebanese municipalities, supported by the Coca-Cola Foundation. “The project main objective is to secure a better future for our children through promoting nature based activities to limit activities harmful to the environment and maintain our natural heritage”.
“The program is the result of sustainable and long term cooperation between the AUB Nature Conversation Center and The Coca-Cola Foundation. Today’s Memorandum marks a new achievement confirming the success of right partnerships. It is a clear demonstration of a fruitful Golden Triangle where business, government and civil society cooperate in bringing development and positive change to their community”, said Antoine Tayyar, Public Affairs and Communications Director of Coca-Cola Middle East.
The Memorandum aims to achieve cooperation in the field of ecotourism through the exchange of information and expertise, which will ultimately lead to the promotion and development of this sector. The Ministry adopted as well the findings of “Baldati Bi’ati”, a project developed by NCC that partaken till now with more than 50 municipalities to encourage local planning through the creation of village green maps.
The press conference was followed by a series of workshops for collaborative eco-tourism planning. The participants included eco guides, members of the Lebanese syndicate of tour guides as well as local committee representing villages that participated in the Baldati Bia’ti program in 2011, 2012, and 2013. These include the villages of Kfeir, Oyoun orgosh, Rashaya, Saghbine, Chahtoul, Bentail, Ghabat, Jourit el termos, Qartaba, Ehden, Bqa kafra, Hadath , Qnat, Tannourine, Baadaran, Batloun, Bshetfine, Mokhtara, Sinay, Damour, Ourhaniye, Maaser el shouf, Kamed el Loz, Aana, Manara, Bar'a, Deir el Ahmar, Al Qalaa, Deir El Harf, Hrajel, Ehmej, Aakoura, Kousba, Bsharreh, Hrar, Michmech, Miniara, Bebnine, Ain Zebde, Ersal , Aita el foukhar, Ras El Matn , Shinai, Niha, Mrousty, Barouk , Hammana, Kawkaba, Dahr Al Ahmar, Deir Zahrani, Bkesine, Jezzine, and Rihan.
The workshop unlocked collaborative work between participants to highlight possible ecotourism related activities and facilities in regional clusters. Seminars were given by Jad Chaaban, Associate professor of Economics at the AUB; Fadi Rayess, Partner and CEO of Levant Retail SAL and Haytham Fawaz, President of the Lebanese Syndicate of Tour Guides Guide.
The ‘Baldati Bi’ati’ program was launched in 2011 as part of the Nature Conservation Center mission to empower people to become guardians and benefactors of their natural resources. The program promotes native tree planting and nature conservation projects across municipalities in Lebanon while engaging local authorities and community members in stocktaking and planning their natural and cultural heritage.
For Further Information please contact :
Head of Youth and Local Bodies department at the Ministry of Tourism
Tel : 00961 1 739890
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Bernadette Farran Haswani
Outreach Coordinator – AUB Nature Conservation Center
Tel : 00961 1 350000 ext 4521
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org