The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert for all of Europe for May 1 to September 1, 2017. The alert is intended to keep Americans traveling to the continent alert and aware of potential terrorist attacks that can occur with no warning.
A number of European countries are popular destinations for American tourists, and the effect the travel alert will have on tourism revenue over the summer months remains to be seen. In addition to travel alerts, the State Department also issues much stronger warnings. The U.S. government currently has standing travel warnings for dozens of countries, including one in Europe.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the U.S. Department of State’s travel warning list to identify the 41 countries the U.S. government does not want you to visit.
The State Department continuously issues and alters travel warnings and travel alerts to keep Americans informed of the potential dangers of traveling to certain countries. Travel alerts, like the one recently issued for the continent of Europe, are meant to inform travelers of events in the region that could affect their safety. They are typically short-term and less severe than travel warnings, which the the State Department issues when the government would like travelers to consider very carefully whether they should go to that country at all. The State Department issued travel warnings for every country on this list.
Travel warnings can be issued for a variety of reasons and can also vary in severity. Many of the Middle Eastern and African countries on this list are unsafe due to the threat of terrorism and danger arising from social and political instability. Such countries include Yemen, Egypt, Syria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The security situation in other countries on this list is far less severe. Colombia and Mexico both have standing travel warnings due in large part to drug trafficking violence and kidnappings for ransom. Still, parts of these countries are quite safe, and as a result millions of Americans visit these countries every year.
While in most cases terrorist groups, criminals, and anti-government rebel factions pose the threats, there is at least one notable exception. In North Korea, the main threat to American citizens is the government itself. Americans risk arrest, long-term sentences, and even hard-labor for infractions that are not considered criminal in the United States. Punishable offenses in the authoritarian country include taking unauthorized photographs, shopping at stores not designated for foreigners, and disrespecting the country’s current and former leaders.
The risks of traveling in these countries is certainly not limited only to Americans or even just to tourists. Often, the conditions that make travel risky also make daily lives of the local population difficult and dangerous.
To identify the countries the U.S. Government does not want you to visit, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the State Department’s list of countries with standing travel warnings as of May 3, 2017. Reasons for issuing a travel warning might include unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks. The lower level travel alerts from the State Department are issued for tumultuous election seasons, disease outbreaks, or elevated risk of terrorist strikes. We did not consider countries with standing travel alerts. Population figures and GDP per capita figures are for the most recent year available and are from the World Bank.
These are the countries the U.S. government doesn’t want you to visit.