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Daily Star August 2008 - Responsible training

Daily Star May 2008 - CLEAN UP THE MED campaign
Also check out Hospitality News Middle East  issue NOV/ DEC 2008

Into the olive groves and off the beaten tourism path
Tour operator brings benefits to both visitors, rural regions
By Tania Tabar
Special to The Daily Star
Wednesday, November 05, 2008



AKKAR: In the small mountain village of Baino, in the northern region of Akkar, Youssef Fares, 29, carries on a family tradition that dates back to the beginning of the 19th century. The Fares family tradition of cultivating olives and pressing oil dates back 200 years, but each generation has added their own twist to improve and create what has now become an internationally known, eco-friendly initiative, Zeyd-Olive Trade. 

Youssef, who is a professional taster and general manager of Zeyd-Olive Trade, welcomed a group of about 30 Lebanese and foreign visitors to his olive mill early Saturday afternoon.

The visit was part of an Olive Oil Celebration organized by Cyclamen, a division of Lebanese tour operator TLB Destinations and member of CIFA (Centre pour l'Insertion par la Formation et l'Activite).  The day trip to Baino is part of a global project launched last year at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London, in recognition of World Responsible Tourism Day.

"Agro-tourism can be a vital contribution to the rural communities and we encourage activities such as harvesting with local farmers and purchasing their produce," said Nassim Yaccoub, project manager of Cyclamen. Yaccoub also hires a local guide from the rural villages for each trip.

In other words, responsible tourism is giving back to communities. CIFA, a non-profit organization which focuses on the linkages between responsible tourism and sustainable development, collaborates with Cyclamen to organize weekly tours to Lebanon's rural regions. "Each destination should benefit from our visit so we encourage people not to bring a picnic lunch with them when they come on the trips. Purchasing products locally will benefit the rural communities," said Sabina Llewellyn-Davies, project manager of CIFA.

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