By Callum Paton
Tripoli, 4 December 2013
While a tourism minister has said that this year’s Autumn Festival in Hun demonstrates how his . . .[restrict]ministry is drawing more visitors to the country, the local organiser of the event has complained that none of the promised government funding has been handed over, and that the bill for the festival was being picked up by the people of town.
Deputy Minister of Tourism, Abdul Saamia Adbuq, told the Libya Herald in Hun at the start of the three-day event: “This is what we are looking for. People are looking for a good life, a happy life. We are sending a message to say we are building our country and building it in peace. We need to come out with new transportation and accommodation to bring more people to Hun in 2014.”
However Tofek Abddiem, one of the locals behind the festival said that the expectations of government support had been “only 70 percent” fulfilled.
“We are supported by the government, ” he said, “but the money, between LD 15,000 and LD 20,000 needed for the festival, has come from the local people.” He added that the cost of the festival had been kept so low because virtually all work has been done by volunteers.
“The planning committee for this festival wants to make it bigger and extend it,” Abddiem said, “But we are suffering from a lack of funding. While the government has said the money will come, what with all budget delays, we cannot expect it”.
Despite the tensions over funding, during his stay throughout the festival, the deputy minister was received warmly by members of Hun town council and the organisers. He used part of the time for talks about how locals could boost tourism to the area and how Hun could profit from its historic sites and the sale of goods made by its artisans. [/restrict]