War-torn Libya welcomes new tourism possibilities

The end of the 42-year Gaddafi era brings opportunities for war-torn Libya’s tourism sector according to a report from Euromonitor International.

Prior to the conflict in 2010 arrivals to Libya reached just 1,245 thousand trips. The vast majority were for leisure purposes, accounting for 80% in 2010, as the country was only slowly opening up to the rest of the world for business.

While the civil war in Libya negatively influenced the development of the travel and tourism industry in the country, international airlines have resumed flights to Libya since the fall of the regime; including Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways which operates 21 flights a week to Tripoli; Qatar Airways, Lufthansa, Alitalia, Turkish Airlines, Royal Jordanian and the Hungarian operator, Malev.

According to Euromonitor: “One of Libya's unique selling propositions is its vast territory, which is unscathed, and offers diversified natural resources, providing opportunities for the development of ecotourism and adventure travel in the future. In addition, a wealth of attractions and Greek, Phoenician and Roman heritage offer untapped potential which could be an attractive investment opportunity.”

Hotel accommodation has been underserved for many years and international brands such as InterContinental, Marriott, Mövenpick, Radisson and Four Points by Sheraton are increasingly targeting cities such as Tripoli, Benghazi and Burdi.

The report added that the establishment of good international relations and relaxed visa requirements would further help to open Libya up to international travellers and boost its global appeal.

(Source: Hotelier Middle East)

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