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New Giant Resort will make "Lebanon the Switzerland of the Middle East"
Thursday, 22 January 2004





A giant new resort is planned for construction In Lebanon, covering up to 100 million square metres (or one percent of the country's surface area). The project was unveiled this weed at an economic development conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where the model of the development alone was reported to have cost $3m (US) to make.

Business magazine Lebanon Opportunities has stated that the huge development, dubbed Sannine Zenith, will include a man-made lake, golf and ski resorts. Land has reportedly already been purchased from numerous families in the area. However

Sannine Zenith will be located in the area of Bidnayel and Sulugi, which begins east of Faraya, one of Levbanon'ds existing major ski areas, and ends in the Bekaa valley. According to Jean Abou Rached, the chairman of As-Salam company, the real estate developer behind the project, the development will cost $1.4 billion (US). The development is reported to be sponsored by the EFG Group, a Swiss private bank.

The complex will be a low density development emphasising health and well being with at least 70% of its area left untouched and a million trees planted. It will include eco-friendly trains to avoid using polluting cars, a private airstrip and helicopter pad. Activities will include hiking, mountain climbing, camping, organic food plantation, basketball and tennis courts, two 18-hole golf courses, an international sports academy, swimming and diving pools, martial arts and cardiovascular training, archery - as well as skiing. Accommodation options will range from basic to five star.

Construction is expected to begin towards the end of this year and be completed by 2010, however more funding is required and some government permissions. A source claimed that the development would make Lebanon the main competitor top Dubai for tourism in the area and could make the country "The Switzerland of the Middle East".

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