In August 2016 a minibus of foreign tourists was attacked in Afghanistan, injuring at least seven people. Terror attacks are not uncommon in Afghanistan but the incident nonetheless made headlines as most of the victims were tourists.
In what is ostensibly a war zone according to its government Afghanistan sees roughly 20,000 tourists a year. So why do people vacation in war-torn countries while all the wars affect all aspects of the country’s economy. Tourism is one of the fastest and most likely to suffer but war zones often do still see tourism from more adventurous travelers ranging from those who actively seek out military activity.
Two others who are willing to brave the risk to see landmark locations one such surprising location is Iraq to which the US State Department has warned against all travel for fear of kidnapping and terrorist violence and yet in 2013 reportedly more than 800,000 international tourists visited the country.
Travelers to Iraq are generally attracted to the country’s ancient historical sites including the remains of Babylon the Great Mosque of Samarra an ottoman fortress called Tal Afar. Particularly popular among tourists is rocky Kurdistan which is a semi-autonomous region in the Northeast, with the majority Kurdish population Iraqi Kurdistan is touted by guidebooks as the best place to travel in Iraq as an issues.
Free tourist visas for citizens of most countries and is considerably less violence and domestic Descent however since the Islamic state began taking over large swathes of iraq. Tourism has dropped dramatically another war torn country with a surprising amount of tourism is Nigeria.
Since 2009 Nigeria has been terrorized by Boko Haram a jihadist group operating mostly in the rural northeast. According to the Council on Foreign Relations folk was responsible for nearly 11,000 civilian deaths in 2015 more than any terror group.
Old nigeria has one of the fastest growing cities in the world Lagos and is also home to stunning natural attractions like waterfalls, rainforest and exotic animals. Even Syria which in the last few years has become the most dangerous place on the planet has some vestige of tourism.
Historically Syria has been one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Middle East as the country is home to six UNESCO world heritage sites but shortly after the country descended into civil war commercial flights racista and most hotels either closed or repurposed as shelter for civilians.
However this has not discourage some tourists who have reportedly flocked to Syria shared border with Turkey and Israel to observe the turmoil from afar in late 2015. Russian tour company even announced plans to send tours to the front lines trademarking the name Assad tour.
There’s no doubt that war discourages many people from traveling but as seen in countries such as Syria and Iraq war can itself be the main attraction. Despite the violence tourists will likely continue to venture into the danger zone but there are some countries you just cannot visit to find out which countries are the most difficult to travel the US State Department has issued a list of travel warnings for more than 40 countries.