The riskiest places to visit are Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen says the Travel Risk Map for 2017. It was launched by medical and security specialists International SOS and Control Risks.
Timbuktu is also among the most dangerous countries in the world and a new map has been designed to alert travellers to the level of risk they face when visiting destinations worldwide. For example, many people love to visit countries like; Mexico, Colombia, Pakistan and Egypt but they have also ranked as ‘high risk’ in the new findings.
HOW TO READ THE TRAVEL RISK MAP
The key to the map is a colour-coded chart showing the current issues within each country – and their severity.
Rates of violent crime are very low. There is no significant political violence or civil unrest and no sectarian, communal, racial or targeted violence against foreigners. Security and emergency services are effective and infrastructure is sound. Transport services are of a high standard with good safety records and only occasional travel disruption. Industrial action affecting essential services is rare.
Violent crime rates are low and racial, sectarian or political violence or civil unrest is uncommon. If terrorism is a threat, groups have limited operational capabilities, and acts of terrorism are rare. Security and emergency services are adequate and infrastructure is sound. Industrial action and transport disruption are infrequent.
Periodic political unrest, violent protests, insurgency and/or sporadic acts of terrorism occur. Travellers and expatriates may face risk from communal, sectarian or racial violence and violent crime. Capacity of security and emergency services and infrastructure varies. Industrial action can disrupt travel.
Protests are frequently violent and may target or disrupt foreigners; they may be exacerbated by governance issues, including security or law and order capacity. Violent crime or terrorism pose significant direct or incidental risks to travellers and expatriates. Communal, sectarian or racial violence is common and foreigners may be directly targeted. Certain parts of the country are inaccessible or off-limits to the traveller.
Government control and law and order may be minimal or non-existent across large areas. Serious threat of violent attacks by armed groups targeting travellers and expatriates. Government and transport services are barely functional. Large parts of the country are inaccessible to foreigners.
In a year when terrorism and the Zika virus have blighted travel, 72 per cent of people believe travel risks have increased over the past year and 57 per cent expect it to become even more dangerous next year.
The Travel Risk Map for 2017 launched by medical and security specialists International SOS and Control Risks is designed to help businesses mitigate their travel risks.
It is released alongside the Ipsos Mori survey which provides an insight into the different attitudes and experience of travellers around the world.
The research found that potential terror attacks dominate travellers’ concerns (51 per cent), followed by civil unrest (36 per cent).
The safest countries in the world are Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland, according to the research.
Daily Mail says that: However, in reality the biggest risk for travellers continues to be petty crime and road safety threats, with terrorism being a secondary risk.
Almost a quarter of businesses have changed their travel plans due to Zika despite stomach bugs and pre-medical issues having a greater impact on travellers.
According to the annual travel risk map the most dangerous countries in the world where government control is non-existent and there is a threat of violence to travellers are – Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Darfur, Somalia, South Sudan, Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal regions.
Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland are the safest countries in the world to visit.
Rob Walker, security specialist at International SOS and Control Risks explained: ‘Events of 2016 have resulted in a sense of increasing challenges in travel to places once thought secure.
‘While risks are changing, organisations must ensure their actions to mitigate those changes are proportionate, and based on reality and not perception.
‘Issues like healthcare provision and road safety, which account for over 70 percent of the assistance services we have provided in the past year, can often be obscured by more prominent, but less likely issues.’
Dr Irene Lai, Medical Director of Information and Analysis for International SOS, added: ‘While the Zika virus has had extensive media coverage this year, common medical issues which don’t make the headlines, such as traveller’s gastric issues or running out of regular medication, are more likely and can destroy a business trip.
‘Road accidents are also a major issue and one of the top five causes of medical evacuation. A number of countries showed significant improvement in deaths from road accidents in the past year, but organisations should be mindful that they remain a common major risk.’