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Eco tourism in Hermel bears the brunt of the security situation in Hermel


As Safir published a report on the situation of ecotourism along the Assi river highlighting the negative impact that the security situation has had on ecotourism in Hermel.  The report notes that the practices of Rafting and Kayak Canoe which were introduced to the Assi river as a turning point for boosting eco tourism, have been particularly affected.  The Assi river was considered as the best river in Lebanon for practicing these international sport and for teaching it by the best experts in the field.  The first club was created in 1995 under the control of Lebanese champion Mohammad Ali Al-Omairi thus paving the way for the creation of several other clubs which now number seven in total and which receive no less than 10000 tourists of various nationalities every year.
This season, which started last June, was the worst ever for the clubs and for restaurant owners which witnessed a 90% drop in their visitors because of the occasional shelling.  One of the club owners, Rabih Saab, noted in his interview with As Safir, that the current security situation has caused a sharp financial deficit that will be difficult to overcome.  In better days, the club received 50 tourist, who practiced rafting for 2 days for 15$/hour, which sums up to around 1000$ per week as pure profit.  To date, the club hardly receives and on average 5 or 6 visitors during the week-ends.  Saab called on the Ministry of Youth and Sports to set up an international training club to teach rafting and kayak Canoe by the Assi river and highlighted that this important source of local income requires serious attention and care by the government.
Source: Al-Safir 10 September 2013

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