On May 19, Homat al Hima International Center (HHIC) hosted a training day for team members to lead on ecotourism activities around Hima sites. This event comes as part of a training programme, to equip HHIC team with necessary skills, as they prepare to launch their ecotourism packages at the West Bekaa Valley of Lebanon.
At HHIC, Andre Bechara, SPNL ecotourism coordinator, presented on basic communication skills in addition to ecotourism and ecotour guiding principles. Cross-cutting examples and captivating stories from Bechara’s worldwide experience in ecotourism could not make the training more effective and engaging. Next off, the team went on a short hike around the HHIC, discovering its Hima Farm and the valley side of Kherbet Kanafar, lying in between Mount Hermon and Mount Barouk. Throughout the hike, and while enjoying the scenery, the team reflected on the antecedent presentations and discussed ways to make the ecotour more of a rich and memorable experience for guests.
In effect, these initiatives align with the Hima to Hima programme of SPNL, which aims to introduce responsible tourism in the Bekaa region, through empowering local communities and providing them with income-generating opportunities, in line with the sustainable management of their sites and natural resources.
Announced in 2014, Hima Kherbet Kanafar represents an extension of the Shouf Biosphere Reserve and is located between the Qaroun Lake and Ammiq Wetland, all declared as Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs). The site is also at the bottleneck for migratory birds, being the narrowest Lebanese territory between Mount Lebanon and Mount Hermon. To discover the ecological and cultural significance of Kherbet Kanafar and the adjacent Hima sites, stay connected for HHIC ecotourism packages, launching soon.