Since the lockdown restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic has been relaxed for many of us, more people are starting to consider vacations overseas. Additionally, we mustn’t forget that there are many people, whose work means that they have to travel abroad on business. This raises the question of what risks do we face by travelling overseas. Are there specific countries or regions that we should avoid? Most importantly, what can we do to keep ourselves safe, whilst on our journeys? To answer these questions, let’s examine the facts surrounding the world of travel.
Laura Begley Bloom (*1) investigated the worldwide dangers that we face when travelling. She is able to identify the number one risk we all face on our travels. The main risk is from geopolitical shifts that are occurring in different countries. The definition of geopolitical (*2) is, as follows:-
“a study of the influence of such factors as geography, economics, and demography on the politics and especially the foreign policy of a state.”
Furthermore, the International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP) (*3) discusses food shortages. Food shortages can occur due to global inequality or market failures. Regional conflicts, climate conditions, and oppression can contribute to food scarcity. This is one example of geopolitical shifts. Another example is the balance of relationships between one country and another. We learn how this can affect a country’s social, economic and political atmosphere. International SOS (*4) discusses the global, geopolitical shifts occurring in 2020. In fact, there are emerging crises in different countries that will have an effect on the indigenous population and its visitors. Even with the presence of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions in some countries, many regions remain dangerous places to visit. If you then add the threat of terrorism, as another risk when travelling, you can begin to see the importance of careful planning. You have to carefully decide which countries to visit, whether it is on vacation, business or *“bleisure” travel.
*”Bleisure” – A combination of business and leisure travel.
Arguably, the global presence of COVID-19 is an added risk to your safety when travelling abroad. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (*5) states that:
“Airports, bus stations, train stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces. These are also places where it can be hard to social distance.”
For business trips, there may be compelling reasons as to why an employer commissions employees to arrange an overseas business trip. Thankfully, most travel centres adhere to the COVID-19 regulations. This includes wearing masks, social distancing (whenever feasible) and proper handwashing.
Nevertheless, we may choose not to travel overseas and instead arrange a family “staycation” to curtail the risk of contracting COVID-19. However, there are many of us who will still be summoned to travel overseas on business. This means we face the risks presented by COVID-19, and the geopolitical uncertainties, present in many regions throughout the world. The most troubled countries to visit are in the Middle East and Africa(*1). They include Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Central African Republic, part of the Congo (DRC), Mexico, Honduras, parts of Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, India and Egypt. Governmental advice is you should only ever visit any of these countries, if it is compulsory.
Many of us may pretend that we will not be affected by any crisis overseas. Unfortunately, that approach won’t help us at all, should we find ourselves in a terrifying kidnap or hostage situation. What we need to do is plan in advance how to remain safe before embarking on an overseas journey. Being fully prepared is the only way to stay safe on your journey. Such preparation can include reviewing the Travel and Personal Safety courses that we provide to business and leisure travellers on our website. Please be assured that wherever we are, we conduct all of our training courses according to current COVID-19 regulations. Why not click on the Link below and start by evaluating our Travel Safety Plus course:-
(*1). Revealed: The Most Dangerous Places to Travel in 2020: Laura Begley Bloom (November 2019) – https://www.forbes.com
(*3). Economic and Geopolitical Shifts – https://phap.org/theme-economic-and-geopolitical-shifts
(*4). International SOS – https://www.internationalsos.com/newsroom
(*5). Travel During The COVID-19 Pandemic – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html