MEDUSA: Explore Lebanon with Xploriders’ hiking trail and zip line
This article forms part of a series of publications under MEDUSA project’s “Mediterranean sub-grant Adventure Tourism Competition” which aims at catalyzing the creation of new innovative adventure tourism products and experiences and upgrading existing products in our partner territories Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Puglia (Italy) and Catalonia (Spain).
Enjoy reading and hope to welcome you soon at one of the wonderful places you will get to know here.
The René Moawad Foundation, MEDUSA project’s partner in Lebanon, awarded Xploriders, the MEDUSA sub-grant. Xploriders is a leading adventure sports company operating in Lebanon and the Middle East to promote and advance adventure sports as well as make them safer.
With the help of the MEDUSA Sub-Grant, it hopes to develop tourism in the Daraya area (Keserwan District, Mount Lebanon), where it has seen a shortage of activities. It also hopes to bring new, innovative products. The managing director of Xploriders, Charbel Abdo, spoke in depth about his future intentions.
Promoting Adventure Tourism in Lebanon
Through the organization of events, Xploriders works to improve all outdoor sports and activities in Lebanon with the goal of bringing in tourists. Everyone loves Lebanon, according to Abdo, which is why Xploriders always tries to develop events that will appeal to both the local and international communities. Due to its love of the great outdoors and extreme sports, the adventure sports company was inspired to follow its goals and create a project under the MEDUSA Sub-Grant that combined the promotion of adventure tourism in Lebanon with the development of new activities.
The goal outlined in Xploriders' MEDUSA sub-grant application is to create a hiking trail in the historical pedestrian root that connected the District of Metn to the District of Keserwan in the village of Daraya (Keserwan District). Historically, this was the only route for exchanges between the two areas. There are numerous phases of the project. First, a 7-kilometer hiking track that circles the valley and begins and finishes in Daraya will be constructed, along with watch stations to take in the breathtaking views and signage to encourage safety.
A 400-meter zip line, a first of its kind, will connect Daraya in Keserwan District with Hemlaya and Miyyesseh in Metn District on the opposite side of the valley. This will draw many adrenaline seekers to the area and inspire them to explore new places in Lebanon.
Last but not least, the project will be carried out in association with the Daraya municipality and the local community, whose members will have the chance to serve as local guides and others will display and sell their homemade goods, fruits and vegetables grown in Daraya.
With a particular emphasis on safety, Xploriders will provide training sessions for young people from the community of Daraya to become guides and operators of the zip line. They will also remain constantly present at the site to supervise and monitor.
MEDUSA project and Rene Moawad Foundation’s contribution to the development of the project
Abdo mentions that the Rene Moawad Foundation helped him from the start. Once approved for the first phase, the training sessions with the project manager and the RMF consultant gave him insight on new ideas to develop the project further, such as two-way zip line initiative instead of the initial one-way zip line.
According to Abdo, the historical component of the proposal is what really drew the MEDUSA and RMF teams because it perfectly satisfies the project's objectives.
The future of Adventure Tourism in Lebanon
Charbel Abdo has been working in adventure tourism since 2003 and he believes that this sector requires constant development. He realized that many of the tourists who visit Lebanon seek outdoor experiences such as hikes to discover the country. Also, the same trendy courant is making young generations and their parents become more and more excited about nature and outdoor activities. “The community is growing a lot and very fast, and one of the resulting facts is the increase in the number of rock climbers and cyclers” he mentioned. Finally, he emphasized on the necessity to develop these projects as soon as possible. Due to the financial situation of the country, many tourists will visit Lebanon, as it has become more affordable and hence, we must provide a range of activities for them to discover.