Which former no-go country should be my next holiday destination?

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2 December
11:09
December
2016

The main ones that come to mind are Mozambique, for its white sandy beaches, and Myanmar, for its culture – I find both of those places fascinating.

Mozambique is a post-civil conflict destination, one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world. They’ve recently opened their doors to tourism. I’d choose Mozambique in particular for the natural environment. It’s one of the most outstanding naturally endowed destinations, like Seychelles and the Maldives, which are very much on tourist map, but Mozambique is even more beautiful, as it’s still completely untouched.

Myanmar (formerly referred to as Burma) has been for years on the news for being explicitly linked with mass human rights abuses perpetrated by the ruling military regime. For years, there have been tourism activists campaigning and supporting the National League for Democracy (NLD) – which was blocked from taking leadership by the regime – who called for a tourism boycott of Burma in 1996. In November 2010, the NLD announced that the full tourism boycott should be lifted and that those wishing to visit Burma (now generally referred as Myanmar) ‘in solidarity with the people – either as individuals or in small groups’ were now welcomed.

"Boycott culture often means that certain countries’ problems aren’t visible to the outside world. Travel and tourism can contribute to awareness."

I’d also mention a number of other countries in sub-Saharan Africa – Swaziland, Rwanda and Burundi, for instance. They’re very much off the beaten track, and such fascinating cultures.

Tourism has an opportunity to contribute to the socio-economic development of poor countries like these. It can also be a victory for peace-building and understanding. Local people need to be exposed to the outside world, and vice-versa. Boycott culture often means that certain countries’ problems aren’t visible to the outside world. Travel and tourism can contribute to awareness about certain social justice issues and what these countries are experiencing.

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