Tourism in Libya, Opportunity and Challenge

By Congrong Zheng

Tourism might be a way to help Libya out, mentioned by Libya Herald. After the death of Gaddafi, Libya was trapped by political changes, unemployment and safety issues.

As for tourism, Libya is best known for its ancient Greek and Roman ruins and Sahara desert landscapes. The ancient Roman city used to attract more than 20,000 foreign visitors annually before the 2011 war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi. Now the temples and mosaics overlooking the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean are usually deserted. There are currently about 13,000 hotel rooms in Libya, a figure the government hopes to increase to 50,000.Libya can be visited as part of an organized tour, or on a transit visa, obtainable in either Cario or Tunis.

Recently a new World Bank study entitled “Tourism in Africa: Harnessing Tourism for Growth and Improved Livelihoods” looks at tourism as a possible vehicle for future economic growth and job creation in the continent.The statistics show that there is potentially a lot of room for Libya’s tourism sector to expand to, and starting from a very low base, especially relative to neighbors Tunisia and Egypt, short term growth should be attainable – all other things been equal.

However, Libya will have to address a number of existing constraints such as land availability, investor access to finance, taxes on tourism investments, low levels of tourism skills, lack of security, safety and high crime, public health, visa requirements and red tape and bureaucracy.


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