Jbeil is planning a two-phase touristic project, at an estimated cost of eight to ten million dollars. The first phase will establish an environmental corridor to the Natural Reserve of Bentael (six kilometers in length, for pedestrians and bicycles) and the second will build a cable car (téléférique) from the Byblos coastal city to the Mar Charbel Monastery in Annaya (1,000 meters in altitude).
The project will receive mostly European funding. Representatives from the French company, POMA GROUP, arrived in Byblos to conduct studies and negotiations are underway with an Italian company. “If this does not succeed, the local private sector will take up the initiative,” said Ziad Hawat, Mayor of Byblos.
Bentael is a village in the upper heights of the Jbeil caza. Annaya is a popular destination for religious tourism, which receives large numbers of visitors yearly, by car. “If the téléférique’s share reaches 20 percent of the visitors’ numbers, as a start, this would reduce traffic and pollution,” said Hawat.
POMA GROUP is an 80 year-old company in the field of cableway transportation, with subsidiaries on five continents. To date, POMA has built over 8,000 installations in more than 80 countries.