Libyan Tourism


Despite what has been promulgated around the world regarding Libyan terrorism, it remains a fact that Libyan tourism is fast becoming an established business, and that until before the February Wars Libya together with Greenland were among the safest tourist destinations in the world.

As an emerging sand, sun and sea destination of the future, Libya is truly blessed with archaeological marvels, spanning all periods of history, right from the Stone Age to the modern sagas of World Wars, including the least spoiled beaches in the Mediterranean world; massive sand dunes and beautiful oases; palm-fringed kaleidoscopic lakes; well preserved prehistoric archaeological sites; remains of unseen prehistoric civilisations, predating the Egyptian culture by thousands of years; spectacular Berber granaries and culture; hundreds of thousands of prehistoric cave paintings and rock engravings – the largest collection of prehistoric art in the world; the largest desert in the world; awesome chains of mountains and valleys; Greek sites; the best preserved Roman architecture outside Italy; and the most complete Roman theater in the world. There is no other place on earth that can rival such remarkable landscape and history.

Overall, Libya possesses a unique treasure not only the world is eager to explore but also the Libyan people themselves are desperate to see and enjoy. Hence, tourism is Libya's fastest growing industry, and several of the newly established Libyan tour operators have successfully attracted foreign tourists, mainly from the UK, Germany, Holland, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and Japan. As a result, there were a number of improvements and projects relating to tourism in the past ten years, culminating in relaxing tourist visa restrictions for the citizens of the United States in 2010.

According to the Libyan General Board for Tourism the number of tourists who visited Libya in 2006 has reached 125,480 tourists. On January 2009, the  Board has pledged to improve Libya's tourism strategy for 2008/2012. The new developments are aimed at attracting 1.5 million tourists by 2012, with an eventual estimate of 10 million tourists a year; as well as transforming Libya into one of the main and cleanest tourist destinations in the world.

The improvements until then had attracted 73 national and foreign investors. However, the current infrastructure would not be able to cope with the number of tourists received by Tunisia (about 6 million) or Egypt (about 10 million), and hence most of the secured investment projects are related to development and tourism. The plan will include improvements in the sectors of advertising, promotion of national and foreign investment, reception capacities, basic infrastructure, quality standards, and, of course, the protection and preservation of the natural and archaeological resources from plundering and vandalism.

These figures were put back by the consequences of the 2011 war, when the country's destroyed infrastructure was said by the NTC to require at least 10 years of work to put back on its feet. The current interim rulers of Libya also pledged to improve the status of tourism in Libya, leading to one official to state that tourism in the long run is more important than oil. Needless to say, a massive amount of work needs to be done, especially in relation to the poor banking system, preservation and protection of archaeological sites, hotel accommodation, tourist amenities, leisure centres, education and training, road safety, and most important of all the recent issue of "safety".


World Heritage Sites in Libya:

Libya is the home of several impressive archaeological and cultural sites that are truly unique and unparalleled in the whole world. The hardly known valleys of the Libyan Sahara are the home of an array of sophisticated and stylish prehistoric civilisations. Five of these sites have been added to the World Heritage List between 1982 and 1986. These sites are now the responsibility of the whole of humanity and not just Libya, to protect, preserve and ultimately explore and enjoy. We kindly invite our visitors and all tourists to report to us or to the appropriate authorities any illegal activity within these protected sites. These world heritage sites are:

The prehistoric site of Tadrart Acacus, which is a continuation of Tassili n'Ajjer in Algeria, is very rich in prehistoric drawings, paintings and engravings, some of which are slowly deteriorating as a result of visitors and photographers wetting them for better photos, theft and vandalism among other acts of barbarism.  Old Ghadames (the pearl of the desert) is being slowly abandoned as its inhabitants are moving out to the new dwellings of the oasis. The remaining families who still live within its covered streets are finding it increasingly hard to maintain the city. The three coastal sites of Cyrene, Leptis Magna and Sabratha provide experts and archaeologists from Europe and elsewhere with unique opportunities to explore and study the Berber, Phoenician, Greek and Roman civilisations of North Africa.


Libyan Tourism Ministry

[Pleas note that most of the info in this section has been moved to our new webpage here: ministry of tourism.]

The new transitional cabinet, proposed on the 30th of October 2012 by Dr. Ali Zidan, includes two women: Ikram Imam, the minister of tourism, and Kamila Almazini, minister of social affairs. Temehu.com welcomes the appointment of a female minister to administer tourism in Libya. The only country in the world in 2012 where women form more than half of the parliament (lower or single House) is African Rwanda (57%), followed by Andorra (50%), and Cuba and Sweden (45%). Libya and the USA are far behind, nearly at the end of the table.

Ministry of Tourism (وزارة السياحة)
طريق الشط
بجوار ميناء طرابلس البحري
Bab Albahr
Near Tripoli Seaport
Tel.: 021-3364621 (+218213364621)
Fax: 021-3364605 (+218213364605)
Website: www.tourism.gov.ly/

Short Biography of Engineer Ikram Imam:

Full name:
Ikram Abdussalam Bash Imam
(وزير السياحة: اكرام عبدالسلام باش امام).
Age: 59.
Bachelor's Degree in Architectural Engineering, Tripoli University, 1975.
Worked as Head of Design and Manager of the Projects Department, which included hotels and residential blocks.
Worked at the Religious Affairs Board.
Worked at the General Board for Tourism.
Was a member of the committee that oversaw the establishment of Tourism Law Project.
Presented a study for establishing the founding structure of tourism projects.
Member of the committee entrusted to follow-up the general plan for tourism.
Contributed with design and management of Libya's wings at a number of international tourism exhibitions.



Libyan Tourism & Archaeological Robberies

Libya's attempts during the last government to recover some of the stolen archaeological artifacts expectedly produced no noticeable results. The report of the Supervision Authority in Libya blamed the Archaeology Department for failing to implement strict security systems, and also criticised the ministries of Justice and Public Security for not implementing a proper program to find the perpetrators involved in the robberies. But Mr. Juma Anag, former head of the Archaeology Department, informed the BBC that his department was, "Deprived of the necessary funds to improve" their archaic, inefficient, understaffed, and under-funded systems; and that paying guards $2 a day could easily lead to distracting them from their, "duties by small amounts of money."
( news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4951770.stm ).

This is quite a valid point the current government needs to address because it shows that having compulsory guides (or guards) cannot and will not protect Libya's heritage, unless the incentive to accept bribes is removed and unless proper security systems were installed in all museums and archaeological sites in Libya. For more information about this issue, please see:
https://www.temehu.com/Cities_sites/museumvandalism-archaeological-robberies.htm .



  • Law 7 Regarding Tourism in Libya (https://www.temehu.com/FreeDownloads/tourism-law-7.pdf)

  • Tourist Guide And His Role in Establishing The Principles of Cultural Tourism, by Omar Sai'd, Libyan Tourism Board, Tourism Companies Department: (in Arabic).

  • Principles of Sahara Tourism: a study of tourism in the Sahara by Dr. Mustafa Salem, Ali Sbita and Omar Hamouda, from Alfath University, Tripoli: (in Arabic).

  • Decree 130/2012, by the transitional government of Prime Minister el-Keib.>

  • Decree 122/2012, by the transitional government of Prime Minister el-Keib.

  • Decree 141, issued by the transitional Prime Minister's Office on the 1st of April 2012, "dissolves" the Tourism Police & Protecting Antiquities Apparatus, and "devolves" all its assets, terms of reference and employees to the Ministry of Interior. 

  • Decree 398/2012: Withdrawing Decree 141.

  • Libyan Tourism Statistics : Official Report