Libya tourism market: Rebuilding the industry after the fall of Gaddafi

Press Release   •   Jul 18, 2013 14:04 BST

Despite gloomy prospects, investors still see opportunities in the Libya tourism market as it has such a varied tourism product and unique richness, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and an attractive geography which makes it ideal for outdoor activities. Libya is home to a number of tourist sites that have never been fully developed, and has the potential to successfully compete with regional destinations such as Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. After having remained closed to the outside world for decades, the country had already started opening up in the last few years before the fall of Gaddafi. With the right strategy and once a solid government is in place to implement it, Libya may become a leading tourism destination.

Many hotels had to shut down during the war, including global chains which had only just opened their doors in the capital of Libya, such as the JWT Marriott Hotel and the Four Points owned by Sheraton. Libya's hotel industry has already started attracting many tourists in light of the undersupply in this area, where there were 203 travel accommodation outlets in 2012. So the future is likely to see more outlets reopen, and new players resuming plans to tap into this potentially-lucrative category. At present, there are more local operators, but with international eyes taking note of Libya, this may change in the future.

Airlines too are returning to Libya, and some with a greater frequency than pre-war levels. This includes Turkish Airlines which sees an opportunity to improve Turkey's trade relations with Libya through better transportation networks. Libya itself is restoring its devastated airlines and gradually reconnecting their networks to reach out to the destinations that were served before the war. The two national carriers have a difficult job to achieve in terms of competing with the increasing number of airlines aiming to enter Libya, and that includes potential incoming flights by low-cost carriers such as Ryanair.

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