Destinations once considered “no-go zones” are seeing a spike in popularity, according to Intrepid Travel, Peregrine Adventures and Geckos Adventures.
Places once thought of as dangerous such as Iran, Colombia, Central America and West Africa, are shedding their bad reputations resulting in a surge in sales in recent years.
For example, Peregrine has 84 travellers booked for Iran itineraries in 2014 compared with 49 in 2013.
“Relations between Iran and the West have softened dramatically, which would explain why a trickle of Western travellers has now grown into an ever-widening torrent,” Intrepid Group Middle East destination manager Pete Miers said.
Central America has reported a 32% and 49% growth for Intrepid and Peregrine trips respectively year on year. Colombia has also peformed well with Intrepid developing three new itineraries in the destination this year.
Meanwhile, Peregrine has added an itinerary through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, along with a new Expedition Algeria tour.
“Algeria has been off the map for mainstream tourists for 20 years or so, after a civil war during the 1990s rendered it off-limits,” Miers said.
“Now, the majority of the country is quite safe to return to and presents a chance for even the most-travelled to get in early and see a country that has not experienced huge tourist developments and commercialisation neighbouring countries have undergone”.
With seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, the destination has the potential to become the "next Sri Lanka or Burma", according to Miers.
“We are aiming to demystify some of the associations these countries have with being unsafe because they are immensely rewarding for travellers who want a true off-the-tourist-map experience,” he said.