Libya is opening up to tourists.
For the first time in a decade, a group of around one hundred mostly European tourists have visited the historic oasis town of Ghadames, deep in the desert.
The convoy of vehicles was accompanied by the police, there to guarantee security.
“They are breaking the barrier of fear among the many admirers of the Libyan desert, thanks to the supporters and the good people, as well as the state, which deployed all its resources from the tourism and interior ministries. As you can see the from the escorts that we have, there is high protection”, said tour guide, Ali al-Kouba.
The visitors arrived via a border crossing with Tunisia which had opened in September after months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The tour was paid for by the Libyan state in a bid to attract more tourists.
Many, such as this Italian tour operator, are delighted to return to the country.
“Here we are in Ghadames at last, it’s been ten years and we hope to come back to work with clients again in the field of tourism. It went very well, in any case, we were certain that we would be welcomed in this wonderful country”, said Giovanni Paolo, a tour operator and long time admirer of Libya.
Tripoli sees tourism as a key sector for the economy.
Despite a year of relative calm, the country still sees localised outbursts of fighting and most countries still advise their citizens against visiting.