Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Adventurous Britons Have Libya in Sights
Although Tony Blair is famous for family holiday photocalls, his low-key meeting in a tent with Libya leader Colonel Gadaffi is reckoned to be behind one of the unlikeliest booms in travel.
Gadaffi apparently wants to emulate Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates which attracts five million international visitors a year.
British engineering group WS Atkins is already at work on a five- star 250-room resort on Libya's Mediterranean coast costing up to pounds 120m.
Adventurous Britons, it seems, have got the message. Only 2,000 Britons went to Libya in 2002, but the number will have been far higher in 2004.
Michael Pullman of upmarket tour operator Cox & Kings, says: "After that Blair-Gadaffi meeting, Libya is seen as a safe destination ( and British Airways has increased direct flights to Tripoli from three to six a week.
"Our bookings for summer 2005 are up around 670pc on last year, and we've introduced two new tours. Highlights are the Roman ruins at Leptis Magna, with a magnificent amphitheatre, another Roman city at Subratha, and the oasis town at Ghadanes, on the edge of the Sahara, a Unesco World Heritage site.
Cox and Kings' (0207 873-5000) eight-day tour, for groups limited to 25, starts at pounds 995. …