New stories reveal journey dangers world wide

From contracting Covid-19 to a blizzard, traveling can be a risky business these days.

But how risky it often is depends on the destination — and how you define the risks.

Safest Cities: People’s Perceptions

A report published by British insurance company William Russell ranks what people think are the “safest cities in the world”.

On this list, which was based on perceived crime rates in the global crowd-sourced database Numbeo, Asia and Europe dominated the ranking of the “safest” cities.

According to the report, Taiwan’s Taipei ranked highest, while Buenos Aires, Argentina ranked lowest (score: 36.7).

Safest Cities: Health and Politics

But the top 5 rankings for “Health and Safety” in Euromonitor International’s “Top 100 City Destinations Index 2022” are different.

This ranking published in December analyzed “Political Stability and Social Security” which includes the impact of Covid-19 (such as overall cases, death and vaccination rates) as well as traffic accidents, government corruption and terrorism statistics.

Cities in the Middle East and Asia performed best here.

  1. Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
  2. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  3. Doha, Qatar
  4. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  5. Singapore, Singapore

Paris topped market research firm Euromonitor International’s “Top 100 City Destinations” for 2022, but pictured here, Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates ranked top in terms of health and safety.

Stefan Tomic | E+ | Getty Images

“The Middle East … occupies the top four spots,” said Vitaliy Vladykin, Senior Research Manager at Euromonitor International, while “Singapore ranks first in terms of the 2019-2022 political stability category.”

Health and Safety is one of six factors used by Euromonitor International to compile its annual City Break Destination Index.

Safest Places: Medical Risks

A report by travel security company International SOS not only analyzes the risks of infectious diseases, but also factors that can influence medical care, such as the quality of specialist and emergency services, the availability of medicines and language barriers.

The Travel Risk Map 2023 shows that much of North America and western Europe — as well as places like Turkey, Israel, Japan, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates — have “low” medical risks.

Medical risks by country.

International SOS

The map shows that Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea and parts of Africa have “very high” medical risks, which International SOS defines as “almost non-existent or severely overwhelmed” health systems.

The countries shaded purple have “significant disparities” in medical risks, which the report says can lead to discrepancies in care levels between cities and rural areas.

This map does not reflect the Covid-19 outbreak currently occurring in China, said Dr. Irene Lai, Medical Director at International SOS. Instead of showing specific disease outbreaks, the map focuses on background medical situations in countries around the world, she said.

Safest Places: Security Risks

International SOS’ Travel Risk Map also assesses security risks, which include crime, as well as political violence such as terrorism and war, social unrest and vulnerability to natural disasters, according to the company.

Sally Llewellyn, security director of International SOS, said about 25 places around the world have “insignificant” security risks: American Samoa, Andorra, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Nauru, Norway, San Marino, Seychelles, Slovenia, Switzerland, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu and Wallis and Futuna.

Some countries have different levels of risk within their borders. For example, the map shows that most of Egypt has “high” security risks, but the risks in Cairo and areas east of the Nile are lower.

Mexico has a combination of “medium” and “high” risks on the map, while Thailand’s borders with Myanmar, Malaysia and Cambodia are considered riskier than the rest of the country, according to the map.

Security threats have increased in several places this year, including Ukraine, Colombia and the Sahel, according to International SOS.

The Sahel is a region in North Africa that includes parts of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan and other countries. The region has a mix of “high” and “extreme” security risks, according to the map.

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