Ten villages compete in a colorful and festive fourth edition
Akkar el-Atiqa, Sir el-Denniye and Bkassine have already won in years past. But in 2019, who will be the winner of the “The Favorite Village of the Lebanese” competition? Ten villages are vying for the title in the fourth edition of this important contest where the winner is selected exclusively by the vote of the public. This year, the competitors are: Amchit, Barouk, Baskinta, Becharre, Cana, Ghazir, Hermel, Hebbariye, Machghara and Qobeyat. In the coming days, each of these villages will seek to win over the hearts of the Lebanese public.
Building on the success of its early editions, the competition “The Favorite Village of the Lebanese” is back in full force for the fourth consecutive year. Promising to be as pleasant as the previous ones, it was officially launched with great pomp yesterday evening during a ceremony at the American University of Beirut (AUB) on the grounds of the Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU), part of the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science (FAFS). Deputies Nadim Gemayel, Eddy Maalouf and Elias Hankache attended the ceremony as well as former MP and minister Michel Pharaon, one of the main promoters of domestic tourism in Lebanon.
In a speech, Pharaon emphasized the fact that "rural tourism is an evident and clear success" at the national level. The former Minister of Tourism also pointed out that "L’Orient-Le Jour is the most important vector in the promotion of culture and for development", noting that nearly 170,000 people voted in the past years’ competition.
AUB’s president, Fadlo Khuri, also made a short speech that referred to the issue of immigration, deploring the fact that "rural areas and agriculture" are largely neglected. "We have a responsibility towards young people in the villages,” Khuri said.
For his part, Chady Hamade, director of the ESDU, said that the main reason the launching ceremony was held at AUB is "because 50 percent of AUB’s students are francophone". He also said that he "aspires to see the emergence of more ecological villages."
Dania Kassar, Fransabank's marketing and communication manager, emphasized that her company is committed to "continue to showcase the beauty of the villages and to promote rural tourism".
Finally, Ziyad Makhoul, former editor in chief of OLJ, urged the Lebanese to visit villages such as Akkar el-Atiqa, Douma, Ehden, Jezzine and others, pointing out that since the launch of the competition “The favorite village of the Lebanese," a hotel has opened in Akkar el-Atiqa (the winner of the competition three years ago) and tourists keep on visiting Sir el-Denniye" (the winner two years ago).
The event was planned by Tarte aux Poires and also sponsored by Tipplers, Atelier de Sue, Tinol and Some Place Green.
(This article was originally published in French in L'Orient-Le Jour on the 11th of July 2019)