Where do you draw the line to not visit a country?
A beautiful thing about traveling is that no matter where you go, there is always something to explore (ok, there may be some exceptions…) – be it landscape, structures or culture.
And when you travel, you are bound to spend money, no matter small or big. In many cases, this can be an enriching experience as through your tourist dollars, you are helping an economy develop. Through targeted spending, you can even make sure that your money is spent directly with those who deserve it most.
However, some countries or regions are governed or ruled by governments that lack in certain areas that we value or cheerish in First World countries such as democracy or human rights. No matter how you plan you trip to such countries, some of your money will end up in the government’s coffers.
In such cases, do you put your moral values first and skip the visit? Or do you still go, putting your curiosity first and hoping that some money will still end up with the population?
For example, I’ve been tempted for a long time to visit the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (… North Korea), except I can be sure that none of my cash will end up with the People. But where do you draw the line?
I bring up this topic due to an upcoming trip to the Maldives. Most of us would probably associate this island nation and its population of 400’000 with postcard-perfect beaches and picturesque islands. Most travellers skip the capital city of Male and connect straight away to their islet. And with that, most also skip the current political situation in the Maldives.
Here’s a link to a video worthwhile watching of human rights activist Amal Clooney explaining what is going on as she is representing jailed former president, Mohamed Nasheed.
In summary, most of the opposition has been jailed on supposedly trumped up charges.
I’ll still go ahead with my trip, but will view my visit in a different light and once again was remembered that reading up on an country’s history, culture as well as current situation is an important part of any visit.
Do you follow any guidelines as when to visit or not visit a certain place based on the government in charge?