Gap years in 'post-war Libya'
Backpackers and travellers are always looking to get off the beaten track, to explore the unknown and to discover the new. Well, they don’t come more off the beaten track than Libya.
Libya may not be your first choice on deciding where to go on your gap year, probably due to the recent war and political unrest, but Libya’s tour operators are hopeful that tourists will start considering the country as a popular holiday and gap year destination.
Today, the Daily Mail reported that one company, Sherwes Travel, is advertising a tour titled ‘Post War Libya! 3 Day Tour’ that takes you to sites such as the National Museum in Tripoli and the Roman ruins of Leptis Magna for only €295.
The website sells you the tour by stating “On a short break to Libya you will get a first impression of this fabulous country - that is just opening up to visitors.”
The tour sounds really exciting. Firstly, you arrive in Tripoli, the capital of Libya, on day one. The website claims “In the afternoon enjoy a walking tour of the centre of Tripoli with our guide - get an impression of this fascinating city with its long and changing history.” The history is indeed long and changing.
Day three is even more fun filled. “Today you may go back to the old town on your own to do some shopping for souvenirs or just wander around to get enticed by the confusing array of streets and alleyways in the medina.”
Unsurprisingly, the company has an extensive cancellation policy, though they claim they have never had to refund a traveller.
However, as a word of warning, the FCO website states “We continue to advise against all but essential travel to Zuwara, Az Zawiya, Tripoli, al Khums, Zlitan and Misrata, and the coastal towns from Ras Lanuf to the Egyptian Border, including Benghazi; and against all travel to all other areas of Libya.”
Just as a side note, fighting is still occurring in Libya with the rebels looking to take control of the country. Once they have captured Sirte, rebel leaders claim they will be able to say Libya is officially liberated with control of all the country’s ports.
Many of Libya's tour operators and officials say the country has all the makings for a vibrant tourism business - warm weather, beaches, antiquities and proximity to Europe. Whether this is enough only time will tell.
Would you be interested in a post-war three day tour on your gap year? Have you even been to a war zone or a riot on your travels? As always, we’d love to hear your stories.