As 20-year-old American daredevil Alex Mason prepared for his trip to Beirut - where he has been invited to walk a tightrope from one of the Raouché rocks to the other - Lebanon's tourism sector had its own challenges to prepare for.
When I first traveled to the country a couple of years ago, I was surprised that the most magical destination I had ever visited is right around the corner.
Despite its Mediterranean beauty and natural charm, the numerous conflicts throughout the region have taken a toll on Lebanon's reputation.
This, unfortunately, makes it exceptionally challenging for it to stand out as a tourist destination.
Attracting luxury tourists from the neighboring Gulf countries to Lebanon’s snowy mountains and green hills is also a thing of the past.
With the declining number of Khaleeji visitors, the country is now developing some of the alternative local destinations, targeting the new-age travelers, with backpacks on their shoulders, all the world’s resources within a cellphone tucked in their pockets and an unquenchable thirst for adventure in their hearts.
"We believe that these experiences, coupled with our world renown nightlife, hospitality and culture will bring Lebanon back to the forefront of the region in terms of tourism. Other countries may have towers, but we have wonders," Avedis Guidanian, Lebanese Minister of tourism, told StepFeed.
Thus, it seemed suitable to offer Alex this new adventure.
The rope was tightly fastened 40 meters above the raging waters of the sea, extending from the higher to the lower rock of Raouché. The challenge offered Alex a unique opportunity, as it will be the longest and highest rope line that he’s ever walked.
His colleague and extreme sports expert, Andy Lewis, was there by his side all along.
“The project in Lebanon is another perfect example of how I feel slacklining and high-lining have evolved me as an athlete. Lebanon is beautiful and we can’t wait to come visit again," Alex told StepFeed.
Together, they studied the wind speed and checked the security of the rope, against the background of the charming city of Beirut. Just like Mason took his position and embarked on small steps towards the other side, studying every move and swaying to maintain his balance, Lebanon too will soon be walking a fine line that will determine the future of tourism in the country.
“This initiative that was launched and implemented by Red Bull will help bring one of Beirut’s most wonderful sites to the limelight, and to promote tourism in Lebanon, a country that is rich in outstanding sites,” the energy drink giant said in a statement.
“Alex kept going until he reached the other side, amidst the clapping and cheering for his legendary exploit unfolding in one of the most iconic Lebanese sites, being the first to cross from one rock to the other in this extraordinary way,” Red Bull added.