New York City, Paris, Hollywood, Afghanistan?
That’s what some tourists are considering when it comes to making their next sightseeing trip.
Even though the US State Department has issued a travel warning to the country, the tourism business in Afghanistan is an active industry for those brave enough to go.
Several tourist companies have emerged to take advantage of the relative stability of Afghanistan as it slowly emerges from the rubble of decades of military conflict.
And it is not just Afghanistan, either. Enterprising companies have started providing adventure tours not only to the mountainous regions near Kabul, but also to the bustling neighbourhoods of Baghdad, Iraq.
For their accommodations, tourists can often find themselves in local 5-star rated hotels in Iraq, or carpeted floors of tea houses in Afghanistan. Averaging around 8 people per trip, groups like Hinterland Travel don’t prohibit an applicant based on age, provided they’re in good health.
In regards to whether or not their services could be construed as unethical, Hinterland Travel stated on their website, ” … we can use local hotels, guest houses and chai khahnas, thus making a direct contribution to the local economy … We are mindful that many of the places we visit and the people living there are very poor and we try and support them in many small ways.”
A separate statement from the company about a potential holiday trip to Afghanistan explains that “the country is desperately poor, frankly it needs any help that we or anyone can provide … The Afghan people are friendly and cheerfully welcoming, although wary until we can prove that we are travellers and not something else.”
According to The Guardian, earlier this month, one of Hinterland Travel’s tour groups was ambushed by Taliban gunmen as they were being escorted by an Afghan army escort. At least six people were wounded in the group that included three Americans.
Touring these areas might seem overly adventurous to some; however, for agencies like Hinterland Travel, the chance to provide this niche opportunity still continues — as of now, their website shows upcoming trips through 2017 with a 7% early booking discount.
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