Byblos is putting the final touches on a new eco-friendly project that consists of two phases and would definitely boost tourism and investment in the area:
Boosting Eco-Tourism: The first phase consists of establishing an environmental corridor between Jbeil and the Natural Reserve of Bentael (محميّة بنتاعل). Bentael is a Lebanese village hooked in the heights of the Jord among rocks, oak and Pine trees. The reserve is considered one of the oldest, richest and most beautiful reserves in Lebanon.
However, I read recently that it’s under threat due to illegal works being performed there. I hope this new project will put an end to such practices.
Teleferique from Jbeil To Annaya: The second phase consists of building a teleferique from the shores of Jbeil to Mar Charbel (Mar Maroun Monastery) in Annaya. Given how popular Annaya is as a destination, this teleferique is a great idea that will reduce traffic, boost religious tourism and bring in more visitors for Byblos and Annaya. My only worry is that a such a large-scale project will probably require approval from several municipalities and ministers of course so it won’t be that easy to pass.
All in all, I really hope this new project comes to life and I wish other cities would consider promoting tourism the way Jbeil is because they’ve doing an incredible job.
Ever since I started writing on the blog, I’ve been criticizing most of the Ministry of Tourism videos and campaigns because they were bad, but things have improved drastically ever since the LiveLoveLebanon campaign was launched and the below 5-minute video is one of the best tourism videos, if not the best, we’ve had in Lebanon in the past 10 years!
Lebanon looks absolutely breathtaking in this unprecedented aerial footage. You will see the Phoenician Tyr port, Saida’s sea castle, the authentic Shouf, the heart of Beirut, the shores of Jbeil and Batroun, Keserwan’s stunning nature, Tripoli, Baalbeck, the majestic Cedars and others in this amazing video.
The whole thing is just perfect and makes you proud to be Lebanese.
Check out this short video shot by Yann Traboulsi and Omar Nassar highlining over the village of Tannourine el Tahta. I don’t recall ever seeing a highline in Lebanon so this might just be the first and it’s pretty cool, despite the many falls. Highline is a balance sport that consists of walking through a rope clamped between two high points.
I hope these guys set up high lines in other spots and shoot longer and cooler videos. For those interested, they also shared on Vimeo technical details on how they set up the high line.
On Saturday, an Egyptian tourist called Mina Ashraf Wadih died in the lower part of Jeita Grotto after he accidentally slipped in between a gap between the dock and the boat and fell into the freezing water. The Egyptian tourist was not provided with a survival vest and it wasn’t a “stampede” that led to his drowning as it’s clearly shown in the video below. At this point, I think the only party to blame here is Jeita Grotto’s management especially that the Grotto wasn’t supposed to be open apparently during winter but the Tourism Ministry should have also made sure the grotto is safe years ago.
I’ve been to Jeita two years ago and the safety measures taken there were clearly not enough, especially in the lower part where they take you on a boat trip without life vests and there’s no one around to rescue you if you fall in the water.
There has always been a question mark on the company managing Jeita Grotto and I wish they had taken the proper measures before this tragic incident occurred but being proactive is not really our thing in Lebanon. In all cases, the Grotto is closed until further notice and the accident is being investigated.
Here’s a video showing the second the Egyptian tourist fell into the water. Start watching at Minute 3:30.
#SeeLebanonForYourself is an initiative by Beirut’s Phoenicia Hotel to highlight the beauty of Lebanon through high quality virtual images. The Virtual Reality campaign was kicked off a week ago (but halted due to recent events) and aims at showing Lebanon’s gems through high quality virtual images..
You can enjoy the virtual tour in three different ways:
– Desktop: This is the simplest where you just drag the mouse to move the panorama.
– Mobile: Using the gyro icon, just move your phone around in 360 degrees.
– 3D imaging: You can use Google Cardboard, Samsung gear VR or Oculus rift.
The website is simple and loads very quickly. The images are breathtaking and you can easily zoom in and out. The areas currently available are the following:
– Jeita Grotto
– Saydit el Nourieh
– Saida Souq
– Balou3 Balaa
– Saida Sea Castle
– Beiteddine Hammam
And more will be added soon.
Despite everything that’s been happening in Lebanon, there are always new initiatives aimed at showing what Lebanon is truly about and reminding us that we live in a beautiful country.