Eastern Halkidiki promoted as a pilgrimage destination for Lebanese
The Municipality of Aristotle in the East Halkidiki recently promoted its pilgrimage tourism options as “an opportunity to reflect on life”, during a familiarization trip organized recently for a group of Lebanese journalists.
The promotional initiative, supported by Middle East travel around the world, AEGEAN and local businesses, is the first step in a larger campaign to attract visitors from Lebanon in order to counterbalance the effect of the Russian-Ukrainian war on the tourist flow of the region.
“Lebanon has a population of 5 million, 34% of whom are Christians of several dogmas,” Mayor Aristotle said. Stelios Valianos, highlighting the consumption dynamics of Lebanese visitors despite the economic crisis that their country has been going through for a few years.
The familiarization trip saw Roula Mouawadjournalist of the most popular newspaper in Beirut Annahar and freelancer Rania Mouawad taken on a multi-level journey that included a variety of experiences.
Journalists visited mountainous and picturesque villages, experienced wine tastings, participated in wine making and also took part in wine parties. They had the opportunity to taste the local cuisine inspired by monastic life and take a sea tour around the autonomous state of Athens.
During the trip, Roula Mouawad took to Instagram and used a quote from a poem by Mahmoud Darwish “If the olive trees knew the hands that planted them, their oil would become tears” to comment on the “strength and complexity” that a simple plate full of olives can carry.
Mouawads activities also included visits to sites of archaeological or religious significance since the region is not only the home of the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, but also benefits from a historical link with Christianity and the Byzantine era.
Fam trip videos, photographs and articles have been and will be shared and showcased on multiple platforms. Annahar’s TV and social media which has an audience of 2 million viewers of MTV Lebanon and other local media.
“Our goal is to advance pilgrimage as a form of cultural heritage that promotes holistic well-being, for the public good,” Valianos noted in presenting the municipality’s digital pilgrimage route.
In this context, Lebanese tourist agents specialized in luxury tourism will visit Eastern Halkidiki in 2023 while pilgrimage tourism experts are expected during the Easter and grape harvest periods. A promotional approach to the Kazakhstan market, where Eastern Orthodoxy is the second largest religion, is also planned.
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