Safety has been one of the major concerns of every traveler who wanted to travel to Iran, especially after US sanctions. However, a recent study on global security has shown that Iran is as safe as European countries for travelers according to a new interactive map showing the risk level around the world.
Iran is among the world's top potential tourist destinations with a variety of ancient sites, including 23 places listed by the UNESCO.
Iranian officials have said they wanted to annually attract 20 million tourists by 2025 in order to generate $30 billion in revenues as the country seeks to wean itself off the oil money.
Official figures released earlier showed that over six million tourists had traveled to Iran over a period of six months starting March 2018. This was higher than the figure for the same period last year by above 50 percent.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) recently said tourism contributed a total of $30.7 billion to Iran's gross domestic product in 2017. The WTTC added that Iran's global ranking in terms of the contribution of tourism revenues to the economy stood at 35 out of 185 countries.
The 2019 Travel Risk Map, launched by global risk experts International SOS in collaboration with Control Risks, shows the danger level in each country and territory based on the current threat posed to travelers by political violence (including terrorism, insurgency, politically motivated unrest and war), social unrest (including sectarian, communal and ethnic violence) and violent and petty crime, independent.co.uk reported.
Factors such as the robustness of the transport infrastructure, the state of industrial relations, the effectiveness of the security and emergency services and the country's susceptibility to natural disasters are also taken into consideration.
The map lists five categories of risk: insignificant, low, medium, high and extreme.
Very few countries manage to make it into the “insignificant” bracket; in Europe, only Luxembourg, Denmark, Slovenia, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Greenland are put in this category.
The majority of European countries are deemed low risk, including the UK; as are Iran, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Uzbekistan in the Middle East.
Canada, the US, Australia, and New Zealand are all low risk too.
“Extreme” risk countries are almost exclusively in Africa and the Middle East, including Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, South Sudan, and Somalia.
The map was released in conjunction with the Ipsos MORI Business Resilience Trends Watch 2019 report. The latter shows that a significant number of business decision-makers – 43 percent – expect travel risks to rise in 2019.
Although some 47 percent think risks have increased over the past year, this represents a 16 percent decrease from 2017, when 63 percent said risk had increased.
The medical ratings are given by assessing a range of health risks and mitigating factors, including infectious diseases, environmental factors, the standard and availability of local emergency medical and dental care, access to quality pharmaceutical supplies, the requirement for medical evacuation and cultural, language or administrative barriers.
The UK, along with most of Western and Central Europe, is designated 'low' risk status.
Highest security risk countries
Highest security risk countries
- The central African Republic
- South Sudan
- The Gaza Strip
- Part of Egypt
- Part of eastern Nigeria
- Part of eastern Ukraine
Lowest security risk countriesLowest security risk countries
- Norway (including Svalbard)
- Denmark (including the Faroe Islands)
- Cape Verde