3 former conflict zones turned travel hotspots

Aaron Millar

Sustainable tourism can help previously war-torn places prosper. Be part of the solution by visiting one of these former conflict zones

1. Rwanda

In 1994, Rwanda suffered one of the worst genocides in world history. More than 20 years later the country is getting back on its feet. Eco-tourism, particularly the chance to see the endangered Virunga mountain gorillas in the wild, has played a vital role, helping fund national parks and conservation efforts. The result? A small but encouraging increase in the gorilla population and one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.

A young gorilla in Kinigi, Rwanda. Image: Hjalmar Gislason

2. Colombia

The road to peace in Colombia may be rocky but the country, once one of the most dangerous nations in the world, is safe, friendly and on the world stage again. Visitor numbers are up 290 per cent compared to 10 years ago. Nature lovers should head to the wild beaches and lost cities of Tayrona National Park on the Caribbean coast or the dense jungle of the Amazon region, both former no-go areas.

Women in Colombia. Image: Luz Adriana Villa

3. Georgia

Gasp-worthy scenery, welcoming people, rich history and a fascinating mix of cultures makes the South Caucasus region of Georgia – bordering Europe and Asia – an exciting ‘new’ destination. This was the tourism centre of the former Soviet Union, but following its collapse in the early 1990s and then conflict in 2008, visitors vanished. Now Georgia is flourishing again and boasts some of the world’s most dramatic landscapes.

Mount Kazbek, one of the highest mountains in the Caucasus region

 


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  • Stan McGahey

    I hope the tourism development officials in these places and others recognizes that the local communities where tourism is being developed should be an integral part of that process and receive an appropriate share of the benefits, and not just an inappropriate share of the burdens, which happens in all too many places where tourism suddenly booms. Remember the Golden Rule of Tourism: The only reason to develop tourism anywhere is to benefit the local people!

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