The sudden increase of travel to the country from different parts of the world has resulted in enormous pressure on the natural environment. Negative impacts due to recreational activities within the country parks have occurred. Littering was one of the impacts caused by recreational activities. Refuse throughout the parks, as well heaped in rubbish bins was a common occurrence. In addition, animals' lives were also threatened by so-called ecotourism activities, which were organized by local travel agencies. Since this time, the government became aware the ecotourism market and the invaluable ecotourism resources in the country could serve as alternative attractions for visitors. The government cannot rely only on the man-made tourism infrastructure to retain the visitor number, as limited land is available for the construction of new tourism facilities. These facilities, on the contrary, may not be able to perform earn their keep because of the increasing number of visitors. Thus, man-made infrastructures are not necessarily a cost effective way to develop tourism in the country.
The present study will not only demonstrate an effective tool for ecotourism planning, but also will help in assessing and identifying potential ecotourism destinations, which conformed to eco-tourists' preferences, to facilitate ecotourism development in Libya. The assessment has provided a comprehensive understanding of the invaluable ecotourism resources within the country to identify the best suitable locations for ecotourism development. The study may be considered as a pioneer in ecotourism planning in Libya, especially in its application of ecotourism planning, which aims at filling the knowledge gap on ecotourism research. Despite the likely uncertainties and limitations, the study will offer a relatively comprehensive approach in assisting decision making for ecotourism planning. The study will also result in a better understanding of ecotourism resources, and where they are located. Comprehensive recommendations are also given to improve the approaches and strategies for the destinations management. The understanding and recommendations contained in this report would provide essential information and advice for related departments in the government, to improve their ecotourism development strategies in the country.
3.0 Statement of the Problem
The outbreak of eco-tourism passion triggered to the emerging needs for ecotourism products, as people believed that participation in outdoor activities could help to improve their health. Many travel agencies then started to package local tours in the name of ecotourism. These inappropriate tourism activities did not fit with the principles of ecotourism, but caused tremendous negative impacts to the natural environment. Many ecologically sensitive hotspots have been swarmed with visitors. This caused a far-reaching impact, which deteriorated the ecological value of the sites. Although the government has noted this issue, nothing has been done to stop and control such unhealthy development. Regulations may, therefore, be set in order to restrict humans' impact on the environment. To search for the most appropriate ecotourism planning and management approach in Libya, extensive research is needed. However, little