Despite the global trend of increase in foreign travel, American’s are going almost everywhere except for the Middle East. Destinations in this region are virtually ignored by American’s when they are are planning their next trip. Most assume that the war torn region is smothered in violence and refuse to believe that that that is not the case for everywhere. Due to the Middle East’s rich trove of culture, customs, traditions, and ethnicities, American’s may be missing out on one of the world’s richest travel experiences.
It is not hard to understand why many American’s stay away from the Middle East. Violence and civil wars have plagued the region for decades and recent uprisings are causing even more hostility and bloodshed. American’s are continually reminded of this daily on the news and in newspapers. Also, the US Department of State has issued numerous travel warnings this year, many of which include countries within the Middle East. Some of these countries are Lebanon, Sudan, Algeria, Libya, Syria, Israel, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
These warnings are in place to promote awareness of the continuing violence and terrorism in many of these countries. They give caution to travelers in order to make sure they are aware of what they may be getting themselves into. Their main message is to promote vigilance to citizens, however, it would be interesting to see if these warnings have had a negative impact on US travel to the Middle East.
Even more recently, American’s were reminded of the risk involved in traveling to this region. In Libya, four Americans, including the US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, were killed in an assault on the US Consulate in Libya. This act is thought to be linked to a string of protests throughout the Middle East over an American made video titled “Innocence of Muslims”, which mocks the life of Muhammed.
These deaths on top of the ongoing violence in the region have been plenty enough to keep many American’s away from that region. However, there are still some people who think that travel to these areas is still possible and even necessary if you would like to get a rich and rewarding culture experience out of traveling. These people stress the importance of being fully informed and knowledgeable about your surroundings.
People who promote travel to the Middle East also stress that daily life throughout the region is not usually reflected in the media. What we normally see on the news typically tends to do with violence and corruption. We don’t get to see what goes on everywhere else. Missing out on the chance to gain unique cultural experiences from this region may mean missing out on opportunities of a life time. As many people say, you don’t know something until you’ve tried it. As for me, I would still probably be a little weary of travel to certain places in the region, however, there are many places in the Middle East I want to and plan on traveling to in the future. What do you think about travel to this region?