The most dangerous travel destinations for 2019 have been revealed with countries being rated by level of risk.
A map, published by International SOS and Control Risks, has separated the risk levels into categories: extreme, high, medium and low.
Each year the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) constantly issues travel advice to help those jetting off, so if you’re booking a holiday in the New Year, you might want to consider the information below.
Popular tourist destinations are among the countries considered the most dangerous in the world to travel to.
Every year the FCO help tens of thousands of British nationals who have got into difficulty overseas and in many cases these difficulties could have been avoided.
But according to them most trips are trouble-free and holiday-makers should not cancel their trips on the back of their advice, Birmingham Live reports.
The FCO said: "We keep our travel advice under constant review and will update it as quickly as possible if we’re aware of an incident that might significantly affect Britons travelling or living in the area.
"Our travel advice may be updated several times a day in a developing crisis."
The ratings used by International SOS for countries around the world:
Extreme risk countries
According to International SOS, an "extreme risk country" is defined as when "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 international assignees.
"Government and transport services are barely functional. Large parts of the country are inaccessible to foreigners."
Egypt – extreme risk
Before you panic about the Red Sea holiday you have booked, it may not apply to you.
According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the warning applies to the area of North Sinai due to the significant increase in criminal activity and continued terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in fatalities.
Other areas are still considered to be a potential risk and you should check with the FCO before travelling.
As a precautionary measure, the FCO advise against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh.
This is because in October 2015, a flight from Sharm el Sheikh to St Petersburg crashed. The advice against all but essential travel does not apply to the resort itself but only to air travel to and from Sharm el Sheikh.
In a statement the FCO say: "The UK government will continue working with the Egyptian authorities to enable regular flights between the UK and Sharm el Sheikh to resume.
"We are also liaising with travel companies so that they are able to resume flights and holidays in Sharm el Sheikh as soon as appropriate security arrangements are in place."
Syria – extreme risk
For over half a decade, this country has been torn apart.
The human cost is truly immense, with estimates that more than 470,000 people have been killed in the conflict, including more than 55,000 children.
According to the FCO the situation remains extremely volatile and dangerous.
High levels of violence persist throughout Syria, including full scale military operations involving the use of small arms, tanks, artillery and aircraft with a number of chemical weapons attacks have taken place across Syria.
Mali – extreme risk
This African country – home to the city of Timbuktu – has been in an official state of emergency since November 2015. This has just been extended by the Malian government until October 2019.
According to the FCO terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Mali, including in the capital Bamako.
Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.
Following French/African military intervention in Mali in January 2013, there’s a high threat of retaliatory kidnap or attack against western interests, especially in areas north of Mopti, though the threat exists throughout the country.
There have been a number of recent bomb attacks in Gao, Kidal, Timbuktu and In Khalil with further attacks likely.
Libya – extreme risk
Do not go to Libya. That is the advice from the FCO.
Since the fall of Gaddafi, the country has been in turmoil.
Daesh (IS), Al Qaida are active in the country with attacks highly likely.
The FCO say: "We advise British nationals still in Libya to leave immediately by commercial means.
"This advice has been in place consistently since 2014. Local security situations are fragile and can quickly deteriorate into intense fighting and clashes without warning.
"Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Libya. At least 13 people were killed and many injured following a terrorist attack on the High National Election Commission in Tripoli on May 2, 2018. On September 10, a terrorist attack on the National Oil Corporation in central Tripoli killed two people and wounded many more."
High travel risk
Despite not reaching the highest level of threat, you should still be cautious with areas defined as "high travel risk".
These actually include some popular tourist destinations.
These are described as areas where:
- Protests are frequently violent and may target or disrupt foreigners and they may be exacerbated by governance issues, including security or law and order capacity,
- Violent crime and terrorism pose significant direct or incidental risks to travellers and international assignees,
- 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.
Turkey – high risk (some parts medium)
A popular place for tourists, it should be noted that British nationals made more than 1.6 million visits to Turkey in 2017 and the vast majority of them were trouble-free.
The high risk ranking is due to the volatile political situation and issues in surrounding countries.
The FCO advise against all travel to within 10km of the border with Syria and all but essential travel to the areas of Sirnak, Mardin, Sanlurfa, Gaziantep, Kilis and Hatay provinces.
According to the FCO: "Most terrorist attacks have taken place in the south and east of the country and in Ankara and Istanbul.
"Attacks are most likely to target the Turkish state, civilians and demonstrations.
"Nevertheless, it’s likely that some attacks will also target western interests and tourists from western countries, particularly in the major cities."
Mexico – high risk
The beautiful country of Mexico is a popular holiday desitination. Culture, beaches and great food all bring travellers in their millions.
The vast majority of these tourists have trouble-free trips, with more than 513,000 Brits visiting in 2016.
According to the FCO, some parts are totally free from violence.
The FCO warning reads: "Drug-related violence in Mexico has increased over recent years. The violence is concentrated in specific areas, and some regions are almost completely spared. Make sure you research your destination thoroughly.
"Outbursts of politically-motivated violence can occur across the country, with a recent increase in the states of Guerrero and Mexico City.
"The Mexican government makes efforts to protect major tourist destinations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta.
"These areas have mostly not seen the levels of drug-related violence and crime experienced elsewhere in Mexico.
"However, since 2017 there have been a number of reported shooting incidents and other incidents of violence in these areas, including in locations popular with tourists.
"There is currently an increased police presence in the Cancun area, including in the hotel zone. While tourists have not been the target of such incidents, anyone in the vicinity of an incident could be affected."
Areas of medium risk tend to have periodic political unrest, violent protests, insurgency and/or sporadic acts of terrorism occur.
Travellers may face risk from communal, sectarian or racial violence and violent crime. Capacity of security and emergency services and infrastructure varies.
Tunisia – high/medium risk
The Foreign Office has lifted a travel ban on the majority of Tunisia destinations, mainly along the coast where the beach resorts are located.
However, there are still parts of the country where the FCO advises against all but essential travel, as well as other destinations which are still under a travel ban.
Although it is technically safe to travel to those beach resorts where the travel ban has lifted, the FCO warns that there is still a high risk of terrorism, and urges tourists to be vigilant.
The Tunisia travel advice adds: "Since the terrorist attack in Sousse in June 2015, which targeted tourists, the UK government has been working closely with the Tunisian authorities to investigate the attack and the wider threat from terrorist groups.
"The Tunisian government has improved protective security in major cities and tourist resorts.
"But terrorists are still very likely to try to carry out attacks in Tunisia. Security forces remain on a high state of alert in Tunis and other places.
"You should be vigilant at all times, including around religious sites and festivals. Follow the advice of the Tunisian security authorities and your travel company if you have one".
It’s also worth checking your travel insurance covers you should you need to come home in an emergency – but if you book an ATOL protected holiday package, then it would be up to the tour operator to get you home anyway, at no extra cost.
Jamaica – medium risk
Most people have no issues when travelling but there are security issues to consider.
There are high levels of crime and violence, particularly in the capital Kingston.
As part of "security enhancement measures", the government has issued states of emergency in the following areas:
- The Parish of St James, including Montego Bay, which has been extended until January 31.
- St Catherine North State (focused on Spanish Town, Linstead and Bog Walk), which has been extended until January 2.
- Specified boundaries in parts of Kingston Central, Kingston Western and St Andrew South Police Divisions, until January 7.
The Jamaican government has also extended "zones of special operations" in certain neighbourhoods in Kingston. These measures allow the military to support the police in joint security operations in response to recent violence and shooting incidents.
The FCO say: "The motive for most attacks on tourists is robbery.
"There are mobile police patrols, but you should take steps to protect yourself and your belongings. Be vigilant at all times, even if you’re staying with friends and family.
"Don’t walk alone in isolated areas or on deserted beaches, even during the day. Take particular care when withdrawing money from ATMs.
"Don’t carry large amounts of cash or wear eye-catching jewellery."
The safest places in the world to travel
The UK, France and Germany are all given the status of "low risk". However, that isn’t the safest category a country can get.
The lowest risk category is "insignificant".
This is defined as:
- Rates of violent crime are very low,
- There is no significant political violence or civil unrest and little 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.
The only counties with this rating are:
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