Guesthouse Lebanon

Empowering Lebanon's Hospitality Sector: A Collaborative Journey

In August 2022, an ambitious initiative took flight as the Trade and Investment Facilitation (TIF) project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), partnered with Le Passeport Culinaire to launch a series of workshops aimed at empowering hosts across Lebanon. The core objective was to enhance the business environment for guesthouses and guest tables, creating a robust framework that would elevate the standards and capacities of these lodgings.

The Project’s Goals
The project was underpinned by three fundamental objectives: revamping the regulatory framework, capacity building, and community awareness and promotion. First, the initiative sought to refine Lebanon's regulatory framework concerning guesthouses and guest tables. This involved drafting updated standards, criteria, guidelines, and a decree, an effort by Le Passeport Culinaire and its sub-brand Guesthouses Lebanon, in coordination with the Ministry of Tourism. The project also aimed to enhance the capacities of 60 guesthouses and guest tables, ensuring they meet the newly established standards through targeted workshops and training sessions. An equally crucial aspect was raising awareness among citizens and hosts regarding alternative lodgings. This was done by promoting the newly established standards, criteria, guidelines, and amended decree to pave the way to a broader understanding and acceptance within the community.
Collaborative Engagement
Various engagement channels such as roundtable discussions and workshops were utilized. Key locations like Byblos, Beirut, and Shouf became hubs for roundtable discussions. These sessions gathered feedback from a diverse array of stakeholders, including hosts, municipalities, nature reserves, and organizational representatives, totaling 82 attendees. Additionally, spanning over four regions—Tripoli, Zahle, Jezzine, and Beit Meri—training workshops covered seven vital topics, featuring industry experts who shared insights on standards, pricing strategies, sustainable tourism, and more. The training workshops drew 65 attendees in total. Key speakers included Guesthouses Lebanon Founder and rural development expert Nour Azzi, Le Passeport Culinaire Founder and Managing Director and Certified Culinary Travel Professional Marianne Abou Jaoude, Union of Sustainable and Ecotourism Institutions in Lebanon (USEIL) Founding Member and President and Sustainable Tourism Expert Pascal Abdallah, and Gender and Protection Expert Francesca El Asmar. The training workshops covered topics such as guesthouses and guest tables pricing strategies, menu engineering, housekeeping, gender for guesthouses and guest tables, sustainable tourism for guesthouses, and an overview of the standards and guidelines for guesthouses and guest tables.

Impact and Feedback
The true success story of this initiative resonated in the positive feedback received from the hosts themselves. Over 60 participants across regions validated the significance of this intervention by Le Passeport Culinaire. Their feedback highlighted the efficacy of the workshops, emphasizing the value derived from the diverse topics covered. Participants left with greater knowledge and understanding about guesthouses, guest tables, and the sector in general, fueling the team's determination to continue making a lasting impact.

The project's success wasn't solely attributed to the workshops; it was a result of meticulous planning and extensive collaboration. Over 75 meetings were conducted, creating collaborations with steering committee members, sector stakeholders, municipalities, and legal advisors.

The Road Ahead
The project's potential to catalyze enduring change in the local hospitality landscape remains palpable. It has filled crucial knowledge gaps and paved the way for a more standardized and empowered ecosystem for guesthouses and guest tables in Lebanon.

The journey continues, fueled by the passion to elevate standards, empower hosts, and create enriched experiences for guests in every region in Lebanon.

This article is part of a joint project between the Trade and Investment Facilitation (TIF) activity, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Le Passeport Culinaire to strengthen guesthouses and guest tables in Lebanon and enhance their competitiveness.

The content of this article is the sole responsibility of Le Passeport Culinaire S.A.R.L. and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID and the United States Government.