The world is shrinking! How wars, volcanic eruptions, floods, attacks on cargo ships and political unrest put so many countries out of reach


Treasures of the Holy Land Israel Whether it’s the shores of the Black Sea, the wilderness of Iceland or the coasts of Ecuador, more of the world is off-limits to tourism today than ever before since the pandemic.

MSC Cruises announced this week that it was canceling all voyages scheduled to pass through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea, instead sending its ships back to Europe without passengers around the west coast of Africa.

Passengers are offered refunds or alternative crossings.

Unrest in the Middle East has led to an almost complete shutdown of tourism in the region, with Israel, Lebanon and North Sinai in Egypt prohibited for holidaymakers according to travel advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Meanwhile, chaos in Ecuador saw crime gang leaders escape from prison, triggering widespread unrest and the declaration of a state of emergency.

In Iceland, volcanic activity has closed the popular Blue Lagoon thermal attraction, although tourism continues elsewhere in the country.

Add to that the Russian re-invasion of Ukraine, which has been going on for almost two years, shutting down what had been increasingly popular destinations for city breaks in Ukraine. KyivLviv and Odessa on the Black Sea — with Russia itself, the world’s largest nation, is also on the banned list – and much of the planet is now off-limits.

Noel Josephides, chairman of Sunvil Holidays, who has been in the travel industry for 53 years, says: “There is so much volatility. It’s not just about whether there is danger or not: it’s about the perception of danger. People see what’s happening and think, “Oh, we’ll just give it up this year.” » ‘

Unrest in Sri Lanka, where large-scale political protests have led to violence and deaths in 2022, prompted the Foreign Office to warn that “violent unrest may occur anywhere on the island at short notice “. This comes after a Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in April 2019 in which more than 250 people were killed in churches and hotels.

Enough to discourage most, but Sam Clark, co-founder of Experience Travel Group, specializing in Sri Lanka, believes that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs exaggerates the danger: “There have been widespread political protests, but not before 18 months and even then. there was no danger for tourists,” he said.

Where there is real concern for the safety of vacationers, Clark says his company will cancel trips.

This week, Lord Cameron, the Secretary of Foreign Affairssaid it was “hard to imagine a time” when the West faced so many threats and “the lights were absolutely glowing red” across the world.

But if you have a taste for adventure, here are some sure ideas…


ENJOY the highlights of two of South America’s most beautiful cities: Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, on a week-long trip that includes Iguazu Falls. Six nights from £2,011pp including tours, hotels and transfers. International flights £900 extra (


JOIN a 13-day trip that includes visits to the temples of Angkor Wat, while enjoying riverboat excursions and a stopover in Phnom Penh, the capital. From £1,190 per person with selected meals. International flights £700 extra (


VISIT the Taj Mahal, Jaipur and Delhi before moving to Nepal to discover Chitwan National Park and the Himalayas on a 16-day trip from £3,549pp including hotels, guides and flights (exodus


EXPLORE the jungles, villages and rainforests of Costa Rica on an 11-day trip from £2,595 per person, including hotels, guides and some meals. International flights £750 return (


JOIN an escorted tour of Uzbekistan that begins in the capital, Tashkent, and continues through the Kyzylkum Desert and along the Silk Road to Bukhara. From £2,065pp including hotels and most meals. Flights £450 extra (


On a six-night cruise from Tromso, Norway, get the chance to view the Northern Lights in the Lofoten Islands, including dog sledding, travel on an Arctic train, all meals and flights inclusive from £3,561 per person (


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