In 2014-2015 the USAID-funded BALADI project implemented by Rene Moawad Foundation provided $171,000 to help the Barouk-Freidis municipality and community establish rural tourism attractions to increase the incomes of residents and enterprises in the area. USAID support included establishing 19 kilometers of hiking trails passing by 13 historical sites and a tourism and cultural information center and organizing the village’s first annual festival in 2015.
This year, the Barouk-Freidis municipality in partnership with Al Chouf Cedar Society are sustainably managing activities in the village. The second village festival managed and organized by Barouk municipality is being held from August 26 – August 28, 2016 and includes a market for local products and handicrafts, guided hiking tours, and a wide variety of activities. The exhibit kiosks supplied by USAID in 2015 will be used again this year by more than 50 micro and small entrepreneurs who will sell their local products, handicrafts and food to thousands of visitors during the three day festival. Last year was a huge success whereby more than 20,000 persons visited Barouk during its three day festival to hike the new trails, enjoy cultural events and concerts, experience the nature and cuisine in the area, and buy local products. During last year’s festival, all hotels in Barouk and the surrounding villages were at 100% occupancy. This year, the Ministry of Tourism provided LL20,000,000 (around $13,000) in sponsorship for the festival.