Lebanon launches "Religious Cultural Tourism" project
BEIRUT, May 16 (Xinhua) -- The tourism unit at Lebanon's Presidency of the Council of Ministers launched Tuesday the first phase of the "Religious Cultural Tourism" project, according to an official statement.
The ceremony held at the Grand Serail was attended by minister of tourism Avedis Gidanian, ambassadors of the United Nationsand Italy, World Bank representatives, and experts in the field of tourism.
Prime Minister Hariri pointed in a speech that the project started with an idea that came up in 2009, but "due to the circumstances, the project just like the whole country, was frozen."
"When we elected President Michel Aoun and formed the government of 'Regaining Confidence,' one of my first decisions was to reactivate the 'Religious Cultural Tourism' project," he said.
Hariri stressed a lot of work has to be done with all the concerned ministries and persons. Religious visits were actually the first touristic activities know by mankind, which developed through time to "include visiting pilgrimage sites, shrines and places of worship, and has become today a touristic activity."
"This kind of tourism contributes to sustainable tourism throughout the year," he explained. "Because it does not wait for the snow season, sea season, or the holidays but attracts tourists from all over the world all year round."
The PM expressed optimism that the project will show the world, at the time when the world is working on launching dialogue between religions, that Lebanon goes further than dialogue, and is the place with "coexistence and convergence between religions."
In 2009, a clause was included in the ministerial statement of Hariri's government supporting religious tourism in Lebanon.
Then a special "tourism unit" was formed at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers to execute the project under the supervision of the Ministry of Tourism and put Lebanon on the world map of religious tourism.[ Editor: meng ]