The 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi played an integral role in the world’s perception of Russia as a tourist destination. Known to most as a cold, unwelcoming, vast country with strange customs, these Olympic Games made great strides in demystifying Russia’s tourism potential. Shortly after the games in conjunction with political upheaval in Ukraine, the host of the 2014 Olympics has reminded the world why Russia may not be the best place to visit at the current point in time. Inspired by Russia’s deployment of troops in Crimea, let’s take a look at a few tourist destinations that should be taken off the list in 2014.
Southern Ukraine, Crimea
The recent power struggle in Ukraine has turned from a local debacle in Kiev to a situation that has intrigued international players. The country is in the middle of a monumental economic accord that will shift its fate between Europe in the west and Russia in the east. Russia intends to maintain its influence over Ukraine and has sent troops into the southern Crimean region. Travelers beware, this appears to be a delicate situation for the foreseeable future and travel plans should be augmented accordingly.
Thailand’s capital has been no stranger to violent protests in the city center. As recent as 2010 tanks were forced to roll through the city to break up the stronghold of Redshirt protesters. Again there stands a struggle for power in Thailand that has been bringing demonstrations to a boiling point but hasn’t culminated in any violence.
The Canadian government has issued a travel warning stating travelers should exercise ‘a high degree of caution’ due to the political demonstrations in the nations capital. Generally these demonstrations in Bangkok are centralized and do not interfere with travelers who avoid the intense areas. Before traveling, it is recommended to proceed with caution and be educated on the day to day events in the capital to ensure no changes occur.
Another country that is currently facing turmoil due to their political situation is Egypt. After three years of protests, Cairo remains a point of contention. There has been violence, strikes, and arrests in attempts to bring the situation to equilibrium. The new premier has called for protests to end but to be safe, travelers should continue to avoid this area for the foreseeable future.
Although Sochi may have looked inviting during the Olympic ceremonies, one should consider the political situation there, and in various other countries, before making and definite plans to visit the area.