Tourleb is a two-woman company, made up of Nada Raphael and Joelle Sfeir. During the many years we both lived in Montreal, Canada, we heard lots of things about Lebanon from Lebanese and non-Lebanese people alike. People thought of Lebanon as dangerous—or at least, they couldn’t imagine it being fun. Skiing? Beaches? Extreme sports? Roman ruins? No way! Lebanon couldn’t possibly have all that.
Having visited many different countries, we have come to realize how hard it is to truly experience a country in a short time. It is even harder when the trip is rigidly organized and when you are on the roof of a bus with a large group of people.
After having many of our own tourist experiences, we concluded two things: one, there is a huge demand for customized and personalized travel; and two, local communities gain a lot from tourism.
We made our first steps into tourism after co-publishing “Hyphen Islam-Christianity,” a project (comprising of a 700-page book, a documentary and a photo exhibit, all of which were launched in 2010 and were presented in more than 20 cities in Europe, the Middle-East, and North America until 2013). The project recounted the positive oral stories of Lebanese Christians and Muslims in spite of the wars and political divides.
Hyphen Islam-Christianity was born after we travelled through the country to collect the stories that are seldom told when talking about the different religious communities. This gave us a deep and valuable knowledge of Lebanon.
Through word of mouth, Lebanese people from the diaspora and their friends started asking for ideas on what to visit and what to do in Lebanon, and Lebanese people living in Lebanon began to tell us they wanted to learn more about their own country.
We began to bring people to Lebanon as a private initiative in 2011, and shortly after that, we started organizing monthly day trips to different parts of the country.
We founded Tourleb officially in 2013, as a project of Electrochocks SARL, a production and event organizing company, created in 2003 in Canada and registered in Lebanon in 2015.
Over time, we have made contacts all over the country, so we know all of Lebanon’s secrets—we can show you the best accommodations, transportation, activities and food, no matter where in Lebanon you want to spend time. From five-star hotels to the most modest camping sites, as well as beautiful bed and breakfasts and guesthouses, we take good care of you.
We know Lebanon from East to West, each and every nook and cranny. We have visited the entire country many times over. So when we recommend something it’s not just because other people say it’s nice—it’s because we have tried it ourselves and we know it’s worth your time.
To fight prejudice about Lebanon as a country, and about some areas deemed “dangerous” or “scary”;
To promote local tourism all over the country;
To advertise sustainable tourism while respecting people and their environments;
To help local communities and encourage local small businesses;
To work with local guides to help them make a decent living;
To reveal different aspects of the country;
To open the minds of people traveling through the country;
To promote backpacking in Lebanon;
To decluster/decentralize tourism.