After recovering somewhat in 2012, with glimmers of hope that the country would finally open up to tourism, Libya was once more in turmoil, with an even greater threat impacting the travel market in 2014. Several attacks by the terrorist group, ISIS, seem to suggest that the organisation is active in Libya, and this is bringing further instability to a country which had already descended into civil war after not being able to reach an agreement between the various factions following the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi.
An attack on the luxury Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli in January 2015 brought much gloom to the travel market, and will likely prevent other hotels from getting back to business. As such, the JW Marriott and Four Points by Sheraton, which had opened in 2011 and subsequently closed because of the war, are unlikely to reopen their doors any time soon. Militants are targeting Western assets in the country and hotels are thus in great danger.
After several airlines reopened routes to Libya, a cutback on routes to the country was witnessed over the latter part of the review period. In addition, Libyan Airlines has been banned from entering European airspace due to security fears. At the end of the review period only six or seven airlines were operational in Libya, and as the situation deteriorates, even these may pull out of the country.
Libya is home to a wealth of tourism destinations and landmarks, as well as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, all of which represent a significant opportunity for the country to boost tourism. Unfortunately, it has never really had the chance to take off. Under Gaddafi’s rule, the country was closed to the world, and despite efforts to try and bring it back to life towards the end of his reign, all efforts failed and with the present war, business is being further eroded by looting at tourism sites and the deteriorating state of all tourism sites.
As Libyans increasingly flee their country, the only remaining hope for tourism as the country drowns in violence is returning expatriates, who come home to visit friends and family, although even this segment of the market may find itself crippled if the situation in Libya becomes increasingly dangerous and the country less hospitable.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Travel industry in Libya with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Travel research and analysis database.
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