Lebanon Businessnews News

Ecotourism projects
in Chouf announced
USAID funds the ‘Baladi’ program
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Two eco-tourism projects, ‘Promoting Sustainable Tourism in the Chouf Region’ and the ‘Ecological Adventure Park in the Bentael Reserve’, were announced this week.

They are both part of the Local Advancement, Development, and Investment (BALADI) Program, an initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). BALADI was launched in 2012 to span five years at a cost of $27 million.

‘Promoting Sustainable Tourism in the Chouf Region’ was announced this week, with an agreement signed between the BALADI Program and the Municipality of Barouk. It will become operational within six months. The ‘Ecological adventure park in the Bentael Reserve’ will become operational in November. BALADI already includes 17 projects and will add 40 more by 2017.

The Chouf project will promote sustainable tourism in the area by developing hiking sites with natural and historic attractions and activities. The project will also create 25 job opportunities for the local community. USAID’s in-kind assistance is $161,500.

The $100,000 Bentael project will consist of an ecological adventure park located on a 3,000 m2 communal land in the reserve. The project will include a mini garden for children, an adventure park with several outdoor games, an electronic library, and ecological restrooms. The project will provide opportunities for at least 15 women’s SMEs and short-term work opportunities for 25 youth.

BALADI supports socio-economic impact projects, including promoting sports as a tool to build connections, reviving handicrafts, enhancing fishermen’s activities, and the improvement and rehabilitation of the irrigation water conveyance network, among others. The maximum contribution per project may reach up to $250,000 per application. BALADI works with local partners, including Caritas Lebanon, René Moawad Foundation, Association Terre Liban, Beyond Beirut, and BIAT.
Reported by Rana Freifer
Date Posted: Oct 03, 2014
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