Risky international destinations top traveller wish lists

Aussie travellers would travel to a risky destination regardless of DFAT warnings.

Risky international destinations top traveller wish lists

Almost nine out of 10 Australian travellers are attracted to risky destinations, a new study finds, and one third would still travel to a destination regardless of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) advice, because “the appeal of the destination justified the risk”.

More than half of Australian travellers’ top three wish list destinations are countries with a Smartraveller level 2, 3 or 4 advice level, according to research commissioned by DFAT Insurance Council of Australia’s Understand Insurance initiative.

street in indonesia with food stalls and motor scooter gangs

The research found that:

  • 32 per cent of Australian travellers would probably still travel if DFAT raised the travel advice level on Smartraveller to Level 3 (reconsider your need to travel).
  • 87 per cent of Australians aspiring to travel overseas are attracted to destinations that carry risk, or are off the beaten track, with 60 per cent of those under 30 saying they are attracted to places that feel adventurous
  • 10 per cent of travellers chose not to buy travel insurance. Of these, 71 per cent were travelling to a country where they hold nationality or dual nationality
  • Of those without insurance, 15 per cent said they expected to be safe in their destination
  • 22 per cent of men under 30 travelled overseas without travel insurance
  • One in four travellers wrongly believes the Australian government will pay for medical treatment or emergency travel home if something goes wrong.

Lisa Kable, spokesperson for understandinsurance.com.au, says: “Travellers should check Smartraveller advisories when planning, booking and prior to departure on an international trip.

“Advisories for 177 countries are monitored and can change levels at any time, depending on the risk to travellers.

“The survey found less than a third of travellers were both aware of the travel advice level of a destination and knew that not all travel insurance may provide coverage, depending on the level.

“Some polices may provide cover in some circumstances such as travellers who are already travelling. Some policies will pay for additional travel and accommodation costs, lost luggage or repatriation,” Ms Kable says.

While travel insurance is available for most high-risk destinations, Level 4 destinations are often excluded.

Level 4 (‘Do not travel’) countries include Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Venezuela, Libya and South Sudan among others, while level 3 countries include such places as Bangladesh, North Korea and Bolivia. Level 2 (‘Exercise a high degree of caution’) destinations currently include Belgium, France, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Chile. 

Check www.smartraveller.gov.au for more destination advice levels.

Which risky countries would you visit?

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    To make a comment, please register or login

    30th Nov 2019
    Not being able to climb Ayers Rock due to administrative closure for self-regeneration? (nothing to do with Aboriginal spirituality claims, BTW - just another BS government sponsored 'reason' to achieve the same result)...
    30th Nov 2019
    100% correct Trebor
    30th Nov 2019
    I am off to Israel and Jordan both at level 2 Exercise high degree of caution. I have insurance and no worries about going. Consider this warning level is the same as France, Belgium and it doesn't stop people travelling there. All up, you are responsible for your own actions and negative events can happen anywhere including Australia. Don't take unnecessary risks and follow the local law and any instructions given. I won'r be going to Gaza for example (tourists are not allowed there in any case so why try?
    30th Nov 2019
    there is never a 'safe' time to visit Israel and Jordan but if you choose a period of relative quiet regarding political unrest then the countries offer a unique and rewarding travel experience. I'm so glad I finally got there and your advice re travel there is spot on. Good luck on your trip.
    30th Nov 2019
    Good on us adventurous and brave Oz travellers, - after all it was our mate said, "You'll never never know if you never never go". - Strong experiences are good to take past our deaths, we should have no regrets, - we are here to learn and experience Life.
    30th Nov 2019
    agree Lookfar, there is risk everywhere in life. Follow your risky passion be it travel , skydiving or just flirting with your neighbour's wife, beats giving up and dying of boredom.
    30th Nov 2019
    DFAT is a bunch of frightened nerds sitting in air-conditioned offices watching newsfeeds on computer screens. They have no idea what is happening in the real world. The truth is they should employ some of these adventurous Aussies who do get off their butts and see what is really happening.

    I have been in HK many times since the so called "unrest" and 99% of it is manufactured for the global media. Most of HK is unaffected and people go about life as normal. I am off to Chile in January and my connections there say exactly the same thing.

    In the past I have travelled deep into the golden triangle in Burma and found nothing but friendly people and beautifully clean and peaceful villages. Nothing like what was being portrayed in the media.

    Re insurance..... wouldn't travel anywhere without the best cover possible. Mainly to safeguard against unforeseen medical costs.

    30th Nov 2019
    Sounds like a good job strikey, where do I apply.
    'Exercise a high degree of caution'...I do that in Australia.
    30th Nov 2019
    If captain Cook and his crew heeded the smart travel advice, we wouldn't be living in Australia.

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