BEIRUT: Prime Minister Najib Mikati urged Lebanese Sunday to vote en mass for the inclusion of Jeita Grotto to the list of the “New 7 Wonders of Nature," reported the National News Agency.
“We have a golden opportunity to show the world that our country has something special. I call on Lebanese, as a national duty, to vote for the Jeita Grotto,” Mikati told Television Liban (TL) Sunday.
The prime minister spoke to the national television station on the occasion of the telethon to be launched later Sunday aimed at gathering as many votes for the legendary cave. Nov. 11 is the final day to vote.
Jeita Grotto, which is 20 kilometers north of Beirut in the qada of Kesrouan, is one of 28 finalists in a global competition to name the “New 7 Wonders of Nature,” chosen by the public from 261 natural landmarks across the globe.
Last week, President Michel Sleiman, Mikati and Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud visited the grotto to urge Lebanese at home and abroad to cast their votes. During the visit, Sleiman remarked on the need for road repair and promised to help the Jeita municipality boost its revenues in order to improve the road to the grotto.
Information Minister Walid Daouk also urged Lebanese Sunday to set aside their political differences and vote to help Lebanon secure to coveted listing.
“We are all for Lebanon today and for Jeita and the nation and we are full of hope because Jeita is truly one of the world wonders and everyone who has visited it know this,” Daouk said.
The minister said a Lebanon win would help boost the country’s economy and turn Lebanon into a major tourist destination.
During his talk with TL, Mikati also said Sunday that his objectives in Cabinet were to secure stability, “which is the key to reform and economic investment and advancemen and tourism is a part of economic development,” reported the NNA.
Mikati said that there would soon be a special Cabinet meeting to discuss ways to promote tourism, the agency added.