These are the World’s least visited countries. Far from renowned tourism powerhouses like France, Spain, and the USA, there are countries that only receive a handful of visitors every year. From remote islands to war-zones or visa nightmare destinations. Reasons vary, but tourists are still wary.
10. MARSHALL Islands: 6000 visitors.
This atoll group in the Pacific region of Micronesia is so remote that the US military used it for nuclear bomb testing. Nowadays, getting there is still a huge hurdle since there are only a bunch of flights every week and the prices of tickets and accommodation are highly inflated.
9. KIRIBATI: 3600 visitors.
Be honest. Had you ever heard about this country? For those of you that responded “Yes”, did you know it’s pronounced “Kiribas”? These Pacific atolls are so far-flung, no wonder they get so few visitors!
8. EQUATORIAL GUINEA: 2400 visitors.
This small Central African country was a Spanish colony until the 60s and still has Spanish as their official language. Since independence, the country has had a series of authoritarian governments, and applying and getting a visa was a titanic feat. Thus, it’s one of the five hardest visas in the World, except if you are an American passport holder, in which case you can visit visa-free!
7. SOUTH SUDAN: 2200 visitors.
South Sudan is the newest country in the World. Hence, they obtained independence from their northern neighbor in 2011, amidst a turmoil of ethnic conflicts. Today, it suffers one of the worst humanitarian crises in the World and the instability of a fragile government that led them to a constant state of paranoia that even banned photographs in Juba. Beware, a mere selfie can be very costly!
6. ERITREA: 2000 visitors.
Eritrea has one of the longest-standing dictators, and its restriction of freedom and human rights, especially freedom of the press, is only second to North Korea. Therefore, the shutout these last few decades isn’t casual, and has led to a very complicated visa process should you want to visit as a tourist. I got lucky and received mine relatively fast, and was able to visit this hidden gem nation where everything seems to be frozen in time.
5. Central African Republic: 1000 visitors.
The years-long civil war in the Central African Republic has made of its capital, Bangui, the second home of the UN. The presence of UN troops and workers is so important that you can see headquarters and fortifications all over the city. Rebel groups and armed militias still control vast areas of the country. Hence, this all contributes to a scarcity of visitors. Despite these facts, I only encountered heartwarming smiles and welcoming people.
4. TUVALU: 800 visitors.
This tiny archipelago of Pacific atolls is, simply put, the most remote and inaccessible country on the planet. It can only be reached with a small propeller plane that covers the route from Suva (Fiji) to Funafuti (Tuvalu) twice a week, and a similar craft that flies from Tarawa (Kiribati) one a week depending on the season. Cargo ships also connect the atolls with the outside world, but it’s only on a monthly basis, and they are clearly unsuited for tourists.
3. LIBYA: 200 visitors.
Wartorn by a decade long civil war, that climaxed with a recent siege on Tripoli, it’s no surprise that visitors all fled Libya and made it the third least visited country in the World. In addition, visas are extremely difficult to obtain and tourist visas are on hold. Thus, to enter, a local liaison needs to extend an invitation and you need to sneak in on business. Not your usual holiday, huh?
2. NAURU: 130 visitors.
Nauru is a tiny and remote island in the Pacific. On a scooter, you can cover its 21km2 in thirty minutes, on foot, in a few hours. There is little to do or see here, so enjoying the stunning beaches and mindblowing sunsets is definitely a highlight. Asides from that, few things justify the high costs of flights and the dreadful visa process.
1. YEMEN: 60 visitantes al año.
The proxy war between Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the North and the unity government backed by Saudi and UAE in the South has escalated into the most dramatic humanitarian crisis in the World, with a huge shortage of water, food, and medicines. There is only a weekly flight from Cairo to Seiyun and a couple of open border points with Oman. To top it off, Al Qaeda still holds a firm grip on many areas in the country and there is a high risk of getting kidnapped. For all these reasons, Yemen is the least visited country in the World. However, if you do visit, you’ll be mindblown with a unique culture and wonders like no other.