It is a first since the fall of the regime in 2011: Libya has welcomed about 100 European tourists to a city that has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986.
Travelers from Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and the rest of Europe entered Libya last Tuesday from neighboring Tunisia and began their 12-day journey in Ghadames, near the Algerian and Tunisian borders, 650 km from the capital Tripoli. A real oasis city in the middle of the desert, Ghadames is one of the first fortified cities in the Sahara and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the unique architecture of its white and ochre painted houses, its palm grove and the Ras el Ghoul fort overlooking the desert.
A first step towards a tourist activity in Libya
“The visit of the group of tourists is part of the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and Traditional Handicrafts to resume international tourism activities in Libya, and change the stereotyped image of the country,” said the ministry in an official statement.
And indeed, the current process of political transition in the country has allowed Ali El Kouba, head of a local travel agency, to organize this trip to “break the wall of fear in many admirers of the Libyan Sahara,” he told AFP.
In order to provide all the necessary security and comfort to tourists, the Libyan authorities have set up a police convoy that follows the road-trip of holidaymakers.
The Ministry of Tourism said the tour will also include numerous musical and folkloric performances in several cities and villages of the country.