From the treasures of the Holy Land in Israel to the shores of the Black Sea, the wilds of Iceland and the coastline of Ecuador, more of the world is no-go now for tourism than at any time since the pandemic.

MSC Cruises announced this week that it is cancelling any voyages that were due to pass through the Suez Canal and Red Sea, instead sending its ships back to Europe without passengers around the west coast of Africa.

Passengers are being offered refunds or alternative sailings.

Troubles in the Middle East have brought an almost complete stop to tourism in the region, with Israel, Lebanon and North Sinai in Egypt out of bounds to holidaymakers on Foreign Office travel advice.

Meanwhile, mayhem in Ecuador has seen crime gang leaders break out of jail sparking widespread unrest and the declaration of a state of emergency.

In Iceland, volcanic activity has closed the popular Blue Lagoon thermal water attraction — although tourism elsewhere in the country continues.

Throw in the almost two years old Russian re-invasion of Ukraine, closing off what had been the increasingly popular city breaks destinations of Kyiv, Lviv and Odessa on the Black Sea — with Russia itself, the world’s biggest nation, also on the no-go list — and much of the planet is now out of bounds.

Noel Josephides, chairman of Sunvil holidays, who has worked in the travel industry for 53 years, says: ‘There’s just so much volatility. It’s not just whether there’s a danger or not: it’s the perception of danger. People see what’s going on and think: “Oh, we’ll just give it a skip this year.” ’

Troubles in Sri Lanka, where large-scale political protests resulted in violence and deaths in 2022, has prompted the Foreign Office to warn that ‘violent unrest can happen anywhere across the island at short notice’. This comes after an Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in April 2019 during which more than 250 people were killed in churches and hotels.

Enough to put off most, yet Sam Clark, co-founder of Experience Travel Group, which specialises in Sri Lanka, believes the Foreign Office is exaggerating the danger: ‘There were widespread political protests, but not for 18 months and even at the time there was no danger to tourists,’ he said.

Where there is a real concern for the safety of holidaymakers, Clark says his company will cancel trips.

This week, Lord Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, said it was ‘hard to think of a time’ when the West faced so many threats and ‘the lights are absolutely flashing red’ across the the globe.

But, if you do have a taste for adventure, here are some safe ideas…


ENJOY the highlights of two of South America’s finest cities: Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital, and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, on a week-long trip that includes the Iguazu Falls. Six nights from £2,011pp including tours, hotels and transfers. International flights £900 extra (


JOIN a 13-day trip including visits to the Angkor Wat temples, while enjoying river boat trips and a stop-off at Phnom Penh, the capital. From £1,190pp with some meals. International flights £700 extra (


VISIT the Taj Mahal, Jaipur and Delhi before moving into Nepal to see Chitwan National Park and the Himalayas on a 16-day trip from £3,549pp including hotels, guides and flights (


EXPLORE the jungles, villages and rainforests of Costa Rica on an 11-day trip from £2,595pp including hotels, guides and some meals. International flights £750 return (


JOIN an escorted tour of Uzbekistan that begins in the capital, Tashkent, and continues into the Kyzylkum Desert and along the Silk Road to Bukhara. From £2,065pp including hotels and most meals. Flights £450 extra (


ON a six-night cruise from Tromso in Norway, get the chance to see the Northern Lights in the Lofoten Islands, with husky sledding, a journey on an Arctic Train, all meals and flights included from £3,561pp (

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