6 Countries That Put Tourism Restrictions

By Neha Kapoor on Feb 19, 2016
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Who is not smitten with the idea of travelling around the whole world? All of us would like to see atleast once the diverse terrains and cultures of this world. However, what happens when certain nations restrict the travelers from entering their domain? These nations have varied reasons for keeping their boundaries impermeable, to name a few would be religion, political identity and ideologies. However, what makes them similar is their unenthusiastic approach towards tourism. Here is a list of all those countries that put stringent laws on entering their domain:

1. Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Arabia might have developed its infrastructure to zenith but the country is very restrictive when it comes to letting people in its boundaries. It does not allow non-Muslims to enter to their holiest cities- Mekkah and Medina. The simple reason it is so, is because it is the command God Almighty made in the Holy Quran.

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 9 Surah Taubah verse 28: "O you who have believed, the mushriks (polytheists) are unclean; therefore, let them not come near the Sacred Mosque (of Mecca) after this year."

Most of the people who visit Saudi Arabia is for the business purpose rather than tourist one. The country also imposes strict restrictions such as the dress code and no unaccompanied females. Nationals of Israel and those with evidence of visiting Israel are denied visas, although merely being Jewish in and of itself is not a disqualifying factor. Apart from these, there are very strict rules for what may be imported: alcoholic beverages, pork, non- Sunni Islamic religious materials and pornography. Computers, VCR tapes and DVDs are seized from time to time for inspection by the authorities.

Also Read: Is it Possible To Travel To All The Countries On The Planet?

2. North Korea

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The world is now aware of the extreme policies of North Korea. It is one of those countries that still hold on to the lost glory of Communism. Anybody who is travelling to North Korea should know that he/she will be put under extreme surveillance from the very moment one disembarks here. There are a number of restrictions on the tourists. Some of these are:

  • There is no space for dissent here. The travelers must abide by the rules or simply not travel there.
  • every movement of the traveller is controlled, watched and carefully planned by the Government. Most of the tours are run by the Korean International Travel Company and it will be their guides who show you around. So don’t expect any solo or independent travel here.
  • You must not leave your hotel without a guide. Also you can’t travel on the public transport system at all and both you and your guide will be punished if you infringe the rules.
  • There are some nationalities that are not even permitted entry to North Korea. South Koreans are not permitted entry and there have been reports of difficulties regarding Israeli, American, British and Japanese nationals.
  • When you arrive in North Korea, your guide will take your passport and keep it for "security reasons". 
  • Your cell phones are confiscated upon arrival and are returned only at the time of departure.
  • You will not get any insight into how local North Korean people live. Your tour will be highly choreographed to visit only authorized sites, shop in approved stores, and speak only to official guides.
  • Tour groups are asked to solemnly bow and lay flowers on one or two occasions in front of statues of Kim Il Sung when visiting monuments of national importance. Always act in a respectful manner around images North Korean leaders.

 3. China

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China might have celebrated 2015 as "Silk Road tourism year,” yet it imposes strict laws on people who wish to enter its domain. The Single-entry tourist visas cost around a whooping $160 and applicants are expected to submit plane tickets and a complete travel itinerary before applying. Once foreigners arrive in China, they must register with the local police station or face fines and possible detention. Parts of the country like Tibet and Xinjiang are off-limits to foreign tourists unless they travel with a government-approved travel agency.

4. Cuba

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Cuba has strict restrictions against Americans entering it. Since 1962, the US government has prohibited any trade between Cuba and America. Unfortunately, this includes tourism. Recently the US government has started to allow travel to Cuba for those with family there, journalists, or missionaries. However, in order to go, you have to apply for a special license from the US government.

5. Russia

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It seems Americans have hard time in entering some nations! Russia is another. In order to visit the country, Americans must fill out a form that asks for vital national security information such as where you went to high school, your last three places of employment, and your parents’ names. Add to that the necessity of getting an invitation from a company inside Russia, knowing your exact dates of entry and exit, and listing your itinerary makes getting a Russian visa a nightmare.

Also Read: 14 Practices That Russians Frown Upon

While these nations put austere laws for those who enter it, there are others whose tourism has in a way dampened because of the political and religious turmoil. These include Syria, Baghdad and Kabul in Afghanistan. Once the paragons of mystic tourism, places like Baghdad and Kabul have suffered severely on the front of tourism. Further, as opposed to the democratic countries, it’s the Communist countries that’s seem to be bit defiant in making people enter its domain. We don’t have to think hard when it comes to visiting democratic countries and continents like Europe, India and others. But when it comes to these nations, tourism suffers a serious blow. Let us hope the situation gets better in future! After all, the boundaries are created by humans only!

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