Some of the riskiest destinations in the world are among the top travel destinations for Australians, according to new research.
The report, which was commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Insurance Council of Australia’s Understand Insurance initiative, found more than half of Aussie travellers’ top three destinations to visit are countries with a Smartraveller advice level of two, three or four.
The report also found that 32 per cent of Australian travellers say they would probably still travel if DFAT raised a destination’s travel advice level to ‘reconsider your need to travel’.
Of those who would likely still travel, 25 per cent said ‘the appeal of the destination justified the risk’.
Another of the key findings of the report is that 87 per cent of Australians aspiring to travel overseas are attracted to destinations that either carry risk or are off the beaten track. Around 60 per cent of those under 30 say they are attracted to places that feel adventurous.
In addition to accepting the risk of destinations, 10 per cent of travellers choose 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, while 22 per cent of men under 30 travelled overseas without travel insurance.
And one in four travellers wrongly believes the Australian government will pay for medical treatment or emergency travel home if something goes wrong.
Travel insurance is available for most high-risk destinations, but level four destinations are usually excluded. Many travel insurance policies may not cover financial losses resulting from acts of terrorism, war and civil war, but most will cover medical costs.
Here are some of the riskiest destinations in the world, according to Smartraveller’s advisories:
- Level four (do not travel) destinations include: Afghanistan, Burundi, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic.
- Level three (reconsider your need to travel) destinations include: Bangladesh, Bolivia, Haiti, and North Korea.
- Level two (exercise a high degree of caution) destinations include: Belgium, France, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Brazil, Zimbabwe, and Chile.
Travel Weekly has contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Council of Australian Tour Operators for comment.