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Ecotourists’ prayers are answered: green travel reaches Libya

A group of wealthy Libyans, including the eldest son of leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, recently gathered in a remote section of their country to declare it a a “carbon neutral green-development zone” designed to attract ecotourists.

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This is way less ludicrous than it sounds. Libya has some of the last remaining undeveloped coastline on the Mediterranean, coastline that is not only important to a variety of marine wildlife but also the site of spectacular Greek and Roman ruins.

What about that whole “pariah state” thing, you ask? Well, not to be glib, but when I was born we were embroiled in a drawn-out war in a country that many regarded as the front line in a clash between civilizations. A few years ago I traversed the length of Vietnam by bicycle. Times change.

So I’m going to boldly predict that within twenty years, Libya will be accessible by Easyjet and overrun with British and German holidaymakers. I’m far less confident that the tourist industry there will consist of wind- and solar-powered, zero-waste eco-hotels, but, hey, here’s hoping.

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