Afghanistan leads the list of the most dangerous country in the world to visit in 2023, the medical and security specialist International SOS identified.
1. Risk Map 2023
The organisation recently published the Risk Map 2023, where it assigns medical risk ratings based on a range of health risks and mitigating factors. For next year, Syria was named the second-most dangerous destination to visit, followed by Ukraine, Mali and Iraq. Ukraine and Mali are new additions to the Risk Map 2023, with the remaining countries having featured in both the 2022 and 2021 forecast.
While Mali’s security risk has raised a red flag for many years, Ukraine saw the biggest shift over the last 12 months from ‘medium’ to ‘extreme’, following Russia’s invasion in February 2022. Other countries whose security risk was also identified as ‘extreme’ include Central African Republic, Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan, as well as certain areas of Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Mozambique and Israel.
2. Mental health
International SOS medical director Dr Irene Lai highlighted the importance of addressing mental health issues within organisations operating in high-risk areas. “[They] must handle multiple physical and mental health issues to effectively maintain their Duty of Care responsibilities,” said Lai. She suggested organisations to look to use all the tools they have at their disposal to make this challenge more manageable.
For instance, the detail provided by the Risk Map can help decision-makers better protect their staff, gauging which locations are challenged with access to medical care, or are particularly vulnerable to mental health issues.Dr Irene Lai, International SOS medical director
3. Safest countries
With no great surprises, Norway was named as the safest destination, followed by Finland, Switzerland, Denmark and Iceland. Many of these countries have maintained a calm and safe security environment, as almost all of them were also considered to have an Insignificant level of security risk last year.
However, a different list has been proposed by Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection’ (BHTP), the Safest Places to Travel in 2023, listing the Netherlands, Denmark and Iceland as the top three safest countries to visit in 2023. According to BHTP, many of the safest countries to visit next year are located in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe, with only four other countries located outside of Europe: Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates.