Upon request from national partners, the Programme organized from 10 to 14 July 2011 a study tour in Lebanon for 12 Jordanian participants. Participants included: a focal point from UNDP Jordan, 4 senior staff from the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority and 7 from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Royal Society for Conservation of Nature. The tour in Lebanon was organized in collaboration with the Lebanon Mountain Trail Association. The Lebanon Mountain Trail (LMT) is a long-distance hiking trail in Lebanon; it extends across the country with a 440 km path that transects more than 75 towns and villages at altitudes ranging from 600 to 2,000 meters above sea level. The LMT aims to showcase the natural beauty and cultural wealth of Lebanon’s mountains and to demonstrate the determination of the people to conserve their heritage. The trail brings communities closer together and expands economic opportunities through environmentally and socially-responsible tourism.
The objective of the study tour was to showcase good practices in the following areas:
- Local involvement in ecotourism: to present good practices on how local authorities, NGOs, and local communities came together to adopt/implement ecotourism plans;
- Private-public partnerships in ecotourism: to highlight responsibilities (policy, institutional and operational) of the different actors involved;
- Sustainable livelihood development: to offer examples on how the promotion of ecotourism can be designed to strengthen rural livelihoods (through agriculture and B&B facilities).
The experience revealed to be very inspiring for Jordanian participants who used it to explore ways for applying/adapting the LMT good practices to the Jordanian context within the framework of their respective projects/institutions.