On May 16, Lebanon held a launch party for their religious travel program by debuting a new book, regional maps and website. Organized by Lebanon’s Cultural Religious Tourism (CRT) unit, the program includes six regional maps of Lebanon which pinpoint 250 religious sites of interest.
The website (www.sacredlebanon.com) and a six-minute documentary also promote the sites to a wider audience. “Lebanon: Celebrating Our Diversity” is a book promoting 83 historic religious sites. These promotional additions will complement a planned infrastructure improvement to some of the country’s top religious sites, such as Qana (believed by some to be Cana from the Bible).
The village of Maghdoughe near Saida houses the popular Christian sanctuary of Our Lady of Mantara, which the World Tourism Organization declared an international religious tourism destination in May 2016.
Out of the 39 most visited religious sites in Lebanon, 25 are Christian. CRT hopes the program will stress Lebanon’s inclusion in Holy Land tours, since the Bible contains over 96 references to Lebanon. Though the main obstacle to developing religious tourism remains the ongoing war in neighboring Syria, the CRT wants to encourage tourists visiting Jordan to also come to Lebanon.