USAID and PRODES launch a new touristic circuit between Jbeil and Batroun

United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Ministry of Tourism, the Municipality of Jbeil, and PRODES Association launched today the new touristic circuit “Rural Routes Between Jbeil and Batroun” linking together 20 villages from the districts of Byblos and Batroun. This project aims to expand economic opportunities, particularly for women, and create jobs in these villages.

The launching ceremony, organized by PRODES Association (Promotion et Développement Social), and the USAID-funded Lebanon Industry Value Chain Development (LIVCD) project, in coordination with the Ministry of Tourism, brought together more than 80 experts and stakeholders from Lebanese rural communities.

“The launch of the Rural Routes circuit is an important step for the socio-economic development of the 20 villages included in this touristic circuit. It is within the aim of the Strategy for Rural Tourism Development for Lebanon launched in February 2015 and implemented by the Ministry of Tourism in partnership with civil society,” said Ms. Nada Sardouk, the Ministry’s Director General.

USAID’s representative voiced the importance of promoting the rural tourism sector as a key driver of the rural economy and the importance of partnering with local stakeholders and the private sector to enhance economic growth.

“Rural Routes between Jbeil and Batroun is a pioneer project that enables socio-economic growth in the region. It will be linked to ‘La Maison du Tourisme’ that will be launched in 2017 for it to be known on a larger scale,” said Mr. Ziad Hawat, President of Jbeil Municipality.

“Our main objective is that the families living in these villages improve their living conditions which can be done by expanding job opportunities and activating tourism in the area. Having such great potentials of cultural heritage, diversity, activities, make these villages a pole for touristic activities,” said Juliana Najem, head of PRODES Association.

This new circuit promotes the touristic attractions of each village by focusing on general and historical information, touristic sites, available rural activities, and services including lodging, food and beverages, as well as local products.

Information on Lebanon Industry Value Chain Development (LIVCD)
With funding from the presidential initiative “Feed the Future”, LIVCD is a five-year USAID project created to improve Lebanon’s economic stability and generate income for small businesses while creating jobs for the rural population, in particular women and youth. The project provides financial support, facilitates access to markets, introduces new technologies, improves marketing, and creates ties between producers, suppliers, processors, and others to help small businesses network and become more efficient. A major component of the project is to increase competitiveness, increase incomes, and create job opportunities in rural areas.