When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch
food / travel

Terrorism And Tourism: Red Alerts On World Tourism Map

A heat map from French tourism professionals, forced to rethink where to send eager would-be globetrotters in the face of new and old security threats.

Christophe Palierse


PARIS — Five years after the Arab Spring, our blue planet has more and more zones turning red and orange. These are two of the three colors used by the French Foreign Ministry to rank countries around the world according to their relative degrees of security.

Traveling to countries classified in red is officially discouraged, the orange color indicates that a trip should be avoided unless there is an absolute necessity. Countries ranked in green — ordinary vigilance advised — are growing scarcer and scarcer. Beyond Western countries, they include Russia, South Korea, Japan and Mongolia.

In the Arab-Muslim world, the only remaining countries classified as greenare Morocco, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Turkey shows a mixed picture, as a result of its common borders with Syria and Iraq, as well as the jihadist threat and the Kurdish guerilla forces of the PKK.

The Foreign Ministry, whose travel advice is often criticized for being too restrictive by tour operators, has also added a yellow "reinforced monitoring" signal. It applies to most countries located in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America. Many of these travel destinations remain nonetheless very attractive, as travelers, who are more and more well informed, are able to measure the risk themselves and make their own decisions. Brazil for instance, in spite of the Zika virus outbreak and the current political and social unrest, was rather popular this winter. Thailand also remains a favorite, despite some drops in tourist influx over the past years.

The turmoil in the Arab-Muslim world seems to have had a minimal impact on travel to Islamic countries in Asia. Indonesia, among others, has recovered from a drop last year. We cannot say as much about the southern shore of the Mediterranean, where the booking rate is still low. In France, the dramatic consequences of the Arab Springhave completely upset the tourism sector, affecting not only the operators of residential clubs but also those specialized in tour circuits and hiking.

[rebelmouse-image 27090095 alt="""" original_size="1024x683" expand=1]

Empty beach in Sousse, Tunisia — Photo: Tony Hisgett

According to the French tour operator trade union (SETO), in 2010, Tunisia and Morocco, the two top foreign travel destinations favored by the French, along with Turkey and Egypt accounted for one third of the holiday package market in France. Five years later, the landscape has changed dramatically. Tunisia is now relegated to the seventh position, with its tourist turnover having plummeted six-fold. Egypt has almost completely disappeared. Though still considered as a safe country, Morocco is also facing difficulties, with its tourist business at less than half of that in 2010.

Such lasting and inexorable geopolitical conflicts have forced French tour operators to focus on Southern Europe and the Canary Islands. Spain, which used to be the most popular destination, has regained all of its former appeal. The aftermath of the Arab Spring has also paved the way for the resurgence of Greece as a destination, though this year's refugee crisis could have negative consequences. Portugal, meanwhile, is more popular than ever.

The search for a low-cost alternative to Tunisia leads to Bulgaria, but hope for its tourism development has yet to materialize, mostly due to the eastern European country's lack of transportation networks.

Let's also remember that shifting geopolitics can reopen old travel routes, as evidenced by both Iran and Cuba brightening up the blue planet for world travelers.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


Life On "Mars": With The Teams Simulating Space Missions Under A Dome

A niche research community plays out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another planet.

Photo of a person in a space suit walking toward the ​Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

At the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

Sarah Scoles

In November 2022, Tara Sweeney’s plane landed on Thwaites Glacier, a 74,000-square-mile mass of frozen water in West Antarctica. She arrived with an international research team to study the glacier’s geology and ice fabric, and how its ice melt might contribute to sea level rise. But while near Earth’s southernmost point, Sweeney kept thinking about the moon.

“It felt every bit of what I think it will feel like being a space explorer,” said Sweeney, a former Air Force officer who’s now working on a doctorate in lunar geology at the University of Texas at El Paso. “You have all of these resources, and you get to be the one to go out and do the exploring and do the science. And that was really spectacular.”

That similarity is why space scientists study the physiology and psychology of people living in Antarctic and other remote outposts: For around 25 years, people have played out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another world. Polar explorers are, in a way, analogous to astronauts who land on alien planets. And while Sweeney wasn’t technically on an “analog astronaut” mission — her primary objective being the geological exploration of Earth — her days played out much the same as a space explorer’s might.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest