Libya, long shrouded in mystery, has exploded in popularity in recent years amongst adventure enthusiasts and garnered intense attention from Mediterranean cruise lines, according to Libya Expeditions, Libya's leading tour operator and travel adventure specialist.
A fascinating blend of civilizations and cultures, Libya is an incredible land of majestic Greco-Roman ruins and awe-inspiring desert landscapes and is home to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Roman ruins of Leptis Magna and Sabratha; the Hellenic ruins of Cyrene; the desert town of Ghadames; and the Rock-Art Sites of the Tadrart Akakus.
"Cruise calls to Libyan ports is skyrocketing , with a 65% recorded increase in passenger shore excursions in 2009 compared to 2008," says Ryad Sunusi, Founder and CEO of Libya Expeditions.
"Cruise lines with Mediterranean itineraries are eager to call on Libyan ports and offer passengers an opportunity to savor the magnificent cultural heritage Libya has to offer - the cosmopolitan and historic twin capitals of Tripoli and Benghazi, amazingly preserved Roman and Greek ruins, World War Two battle sites, and exotic Saharan towns."
According to the Libyan Ministry of Tourism, 36 cruise vessels visited and 12,218 passengers disembarked in Libya in 2009.
The most popular Libyan ports of call, usually found on 10- to 16-day Mediterranean cruises, are Tripoli and Benghazi. Most shore excursions target the Roman Cities of Leptis Magna and Sabratha, Greek Cyrene and Apollonia, and the World War Two cemeteries at Tobruk.
Libya Expeditions, whose Cruise Services division is a key Destination Management partner to Mediterranean cruise lines calling on Libyan ports, is a recognized market leader in Libya Cruise Services, Ground Operations, and Tour Operations for cruise vessels. Services are offered at every major Libyan port of call by dedicated Cruise Specialists, including the ports of Tripoli, Khums, Derna, Benghazi, and Tobruk.
Libya recently announced an ambitious strategy to attract 1.5 Million tourists annually by 2012; and to that effect, loosened tourist visa procedures so visas for most nationalities can be obtained on arrival. Top countries sending tourists to Libya are Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and Sweden.