Middle East wants to become an international hiking destination

The Jordan trail: National tourist boards are pitching centuries-old hiking trails as historical destinations that offer both cultural and active travel experiences. ― AFP pic
The Jordan trail: National tourist boards are pitching centuries-old hiking trails as historical destinations that offer both cultural and active travel experiences. ― AFP pic

BEIRUT, Nov 10 ― Tourism offices in the Middle East are hoping to lure more visitors to the area by promoting their hiking trails.

They may not be as top of mind as the Inca or Appalachian trails, but tourism agencies across the region are pushing destinations like the Nativity Path in Palestine, Abraham Path from Turkey to Egypt, the Jordan trail and Lebanon's mountain trail as tourist spots for active travellers looking for a holiday that's quite literally off the beaten track.

That's according to a new “Global Trends Report 2016” presented at the World Travel Market in London this week. The report was prepared by market research group Euromonitor.

While the region continues to see security issues and instability, national tourist boards are pitching centuries-old hiking trails as historical destinations that offer both cultural and active travel experiences.

“Hiking the Masar Ibrahim or the Nativity Trail in Palestine enables tourists to walk through history, as well as bringing change and opportunities to rural communities who have never encountered tourism before,” said Michel Awad for Tourism Palestine in the report.

The Abraham Path trail crosses borders from Turkey to Egypt, offering visitors a more varied travel experience.

While the majority of hikers are connected to the region through religion, family or diaspora links, it's predicted that interest will rise from travellers abroad.

Hiking pilgrimages have seen a rise in popularity in Europe, not only among religious pilgrims but secular hikers as well.

Perhaps the most popular is the Camino de Santiago or Way of St. James in northwestern Spain, which draws hundreds of thousands of hikers every year seeking spiritual enlightenment or quite simply a hiking or cycling challenge. ― AFP-Relaxnews