A list of the top places that are too dangerous to visit now, but might not be in 10 years. All of these places hold great cultural artifacts and sites that are lost to the world due to war and fighting. Unlike other sources of economic revenue, the travel industry is actually helped by a weak local currency (more for your buck) and doesn’t require an infrastructure that nature and history don’t already provide. The main ingredient a travel industry needs to thrive is political stability which in turn provides local security and public transportation.

  • Kabul, Afghanistan – Much of the Afghan economy is currently supported by the growth and trade of opium. The security situation is such that Afghanistan has a good chance of stabilizing and switching to a market economy. Travel will be essential to filling the void that will be left as the drug trade is phased out. Afghanistan is a land that holds some of the world’s great cultural and historical treasures – despite the Taliban’s efforts to destroy them. Darul Aman Palace and Babur’s Garden will be worth the visit. You can read a full list of what Kabul has to offer here [via Kabul Caravan].
  • Mogadishu, Somalia – Somalia has been the world’s only country without a government for more than 15 years. The people are ready for stability and there are voices calling for change. Scarred by years of war with its bordering neighbors, the parties on all sides realize that a stable Somalia will mean greater stability for the region. Somalia has potential to get organized quickly in the absence of conflict. Somalia’s beaches and desire to open up to the world and large base of population outside of the country all together make the travel economy there ready to spark. Lonely Planet has some current information.
  • Tehran, Iran – Long known for the poetry and art created by her people, Iran (despite Ahmadinejad’s rantings), is a modern society that has until recently been open to the world. Change is rising to the surface of the Iranian political space and even the mullahs are even calling for talks with the West. Ideas are impossible to contain and in the end economics dictates politics. Travel relies on political stability and everyone in Iran knows it. Inviting the West to see what they’re missing out on would make a much more positive statement to the world then nuclear weapons (and certainly generate more dough). Once you take a look at Irpedia you’ll want to go.
  • Pyongyang, North Korea -This place has the potential for the quickest turn around on the list. Dictators don’t usually do a good job at getting their successors in order and after they die it’s usually curtains for their regime. Starving his people, closing the society off from the rest of the world, and always on the brink of war, when Jong-Il is gone, N.Korea will open up fast. You can get an idea of what life is like now [via ABC News].
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If you don’t think this list of countries are likely to become tourist attractions, think about Cuba, China, Jordan, and Dubai 10 years ago. In case you can’t wait for a decade to go by before you go on your next off-the-beaten-path check out these 8 places you shouldn’t be scared to visit right now. Using Seat 61 you can make a trip to almost any place a bit more rugged too.

Any suggestions for places that should be on this list? – I’d love to hear them 🙂