This came on the occasion of the 24th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Madrid – Spain.
“Bkasin” was chosen from among more than 170 villages in 75 countries around the world.
The Ministry of Tourism considered this important achievement, a clear evidence of the value of “Bakasin”, as it is an outstanding example of a rural tourist destination with recognized natural and cultural origins, that has preserved and enhanced societal values and lifestyles, and has a clear commitment to innovation and sustainability in all its aspects – economic and social. and environmental.
The head of the Union of Jezzine Municipalities, Khalil Harfouch, confirmed to “Al-Ain News” that choosing one of the towns of Jezzine District as the best tourist village in the world in light of the current political, economic and social conditions, represents a glimmer of hope for a promising tourist future for Lebanon, especially for this town.
He added: This choice reflects the perseverance of officials in the region to preserve heritage and forests, as Bkassin includes the largest pine forest in the Middle East, which is the basis for choosing the town, in addition to the beautiful houses that preserve its heritage and splendor.
Harfouche hoped that this would be a message to the Lebanese about the necessity of preserving the environment, as it is our only wealth in Lebanon now, which will enable us to revive our land and our country and will attract tourists, especially eco-tourism.
Regarding the future projects of this town, Harfouche replied: We are in the process of launching a destination managmenet organization, which is a type of tourism organization of all kinds under the framework of the World Tourism Organization.
According to the statement of the Ministry of Tourism, there were many interpretations about the name of the town of Jezzine, but it is likely that it is a Phoenician name composed of two parts, “Baka” which means country, and “Sin” meaning the sun, and thus Bekasin is the country of the sun.
This dreamy town, where beauty, gentleness and serenity embrace, and characterized by its calm nature and moderate climate, and adorned with the evergreen of its pines and olives, is considered one of the picturesque southern Lebanese villages.
Bkassin is 70 kilometers from the capital Beirut, with an average height of eight hundred meters above sea level, and it contains in its soil the largest and finest pine forest in the Middle East at all.
It covers an area of 200 hectares, making it a prominent landmark in ecotourism, and it was declared a protected forest by the Ministry of Environment in 1996.
The pine forest is one of the most important features of the village that attracts tourists, plays an important role in the rural economy and provides high economic opportunities through pine harvesting. The forest contains a rich biological diversity of aromatic and medicinal plants.
The landmarks of Bkasin are distributed among the heritage houses that are covered with the finest tiles, and the old bridges dating back to the Ottoman era. The National Heritage Foundation awarded it the Appreciation Award for Heritage Achievements in the year 2002.
The magnificent Church of St. Thecla, built since the early part of the last century, remains a palpable symbol in the architectural heritage that is distinguished by two cassettes, and the Ministry of Culture has included it in the general inventory of historical buildings since 1997.
The annual festival is held in its courtyard, which is organized in September, and it has been reserved for its place on the map of Lebanese festivals and has become, over the years, an unmissable event with many artistic, cultural and religious activities, attracting more than 20,000 visitors each year.
The Association of “The Most Beautiful Towns of Lebanon” ranked it in 2019 as one of the “Most Beautiful Towns of Lebanon” on the rank of three oaks due to its exceptional environmental features and exemplary rural character at the national level.