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Tourists arrived in the closed country for the first time in 10 years

The British Daily Mail reported on the original tour made by European tourists. The “raid” of about 100 European tourists went to Libya for the first time in ten years. “People here are very hospitable … Libyans want to see tourists again,” said a Frenchman, Jean-Paul, a Frenchman who returned to Libya ten years after his first trip.

It was the first organized tourist tour for foreign visitors in ten years: Libya has been shaken by civil war all these years after Western countries tried to “destroy” the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi. According to guide Ali al-Kuba, he wants to “break the wall of fear” for foreigners who want to visit the great Libyan Sahara.

However, so far tourists are actually allowed under escort: guests from Europe arrived through the border crossing with Tunisia, which opened in September after several months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. Then, accompanied by security officers, the tourists visited the old city of Ghadames, an oasis in the desert, about 650 kilometers (400 miles) southwest of the Libyan capital Tripoli. The convoy of jeeps with tourists was accompanied by “police sirens” and armed guards, as the publication also notes.

Tourists arrived in the closed country for the first time in 10 years
The ancient city of Ghadames

“It was impossible for 10 years – then we were told that we could finally return to the trip under supervision and security,” said the aforementioned French tourist. Among those who wished to visit the tour, you could find Italian, French, Icelandic and Swiss tourists through the city.

At the same time, as the British edition does not forget to mention, Libya was mostly closed to tourists during the four decades of Muammar Gaddafi’s rule. The publication also adds that “Tourism was a tiny industry in Libya, whose economy has been dominated by oil and gas since the mid-20th century. But there was a brief surge in the 2000s when the Gaddafi regime established ties with the outside world as a result of the lifting of UN sanctions in 2003, including a flight ban. ”

However, the last 10 years, starting in 2011, did not allow tourists to enter the country for a much more significant reason – the civil war after the overthrow of the “dictator”. “Today, thanks to a year of relative calm after the ceasefire in October 2020 and the United Nations-led peace process, the first group of tourists since 2012 has been able to come on a state-paid tour,” the Daily Mail added.

Tourists arrived in the closed country for the first time in 10 years
Ancient Ghadames, a clay oasis of Libya

The oasis city of Ghadames, a former tourist destination, is known as the “pearls of the desert”. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a key point of the Sahara trade routes. The city has a unique multi-level architecture with white covered streets, inaccessible to the summer sun.

However, the tour is unlikely to become massive: the country still has local outbreaks of hostilities, and most countries advise their citizens to refrain from visiting. However, Khaled Derder, who organized the tour, said he wanted to deny the idea that Libya was a “country in decline.” “The idea of ​​the trip was to bring back European tourists – and today they are here on Libyan soil,” he said.

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