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Libya's New Leaders Looking to Tourism for Revenue
November 12, 2011

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A new focus for Libya's new leaders is tourism, something that former leader Moammar Gadhafi devalued.

In the wake of the revolution that ousted Gadhafi from power after more than 40 years, the National Transitional Council has announced the pursuit of strategies to provide for revenues other than oil. Although Libya has the continent's largest oil reserves, the NTC is well aware that that oil supply will run dry one day.

Many of the country's larger cities, including the capital, Tripoli, have been hit hard by the fighting that dominated the country for the past several months — literally and figuratively. Benghazi, the nominal resistance capital for many a week, is thriving as an eastern hub of business and trade. Several other cities along the Mediterranean coastline are still pumping out oil but looking to diversify as well.

The country is still relatively unstable, and tourist numbers wouldn't be expected to be large for awhile yet. But one prime destination could well be Leptis Magna, the remains of a Roman Empire port city that have remained largely untouched for many a year. Among the structures still standing (at least in part) are a forum, a theater, a marketplace, a triumphal arch, a basilica, and a collection of baths.

The area, which was first a mainstay of Ancient Carthage and which produced a Roman emperor — Lucius Septimius Severus — has yet to be fully excavated.

Meanwhile, the National Transitional Council has also reported that it will play host in the next few weeks to international weapons inspectors, who will check through stockpiles of chemical weapons discovered in facilities that were revealed to the world in 2004 but that remained untapped by Gadhafi during the war.

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