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Aley mountain trails part of tourism strategy
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A new mountain trail, Tree Trail, will be launched Saturday, June 11, by the Association for Forests, Development and Conservation (AFDC), Aley Development Forum, and Delta.

The announcement of the trail comes on the eve of the Aley rural tourism strategy launched by the Ministry of Tourism.

The trail aims to introduce students and adventurers to wildlife. “The 1.5 kilometer trail passes through 50 different kinds of trees, some of which are rare,” said Jawad Bou Ghanem, AFDC project coordination.

The new strategy will help to support summer tourism, which many Aley residents depend on for their livelihood. “Tourism in Aley has been suffering because it relied on Gulf nationals who have stopped coming,” he said.

Work on infrastructure and services are needed to speed up rural tourism. The strategy will help to remove obstacles that stand in the way of the development of rural tourism in the area. “There are major opportunities, such as outdoor activities and religious and traditional sites that need promotion,” said Rami Salman, founder of Aley Development Forum.

Increasing rural tourism in Aley could have positive effects on employment. There are only two guesthouses in Aley. 25 percent of families in Aley are on a low income, According to Salman. The findings from a survey that was conducted as part of the strategy stated that around six percent are considered poor. The survey shows that 33 percent of employees in Aley work in the industrial sector, and 21 percent in traditional crafts. Only 12 percent of Aley is harvested. Agriculture is considered one of the main pillars of rural tourism.

Delta is working on starting another 35 kilometer trail, linking Aley to the Shouf, passing through Ramlieh. There are 80 ponds and 52 lakes in Aley that can serve as locations for guesthouses, according to Salman.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
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Date Posted: Jun 10, 2016