Political tourism: Access all areas

UKRAINE, it is safe to surmise, is not top of many tourists’ must-visit destinations at the moment. But there are, in fact, a few travellers willing to pay handsomely to find out what is happening in the country. A company called Political Tours is signing people up for a nine-day trip to study the turmoil in the country. The idea is not to be voyeuristic, says Nicholas Wood, who runs the firm. Rather it is aimed at people with a genuine political interest and those keen to learn more about the situation in Ukraine by conducting some first-hand research. The tour is led by a local journalist; travellers are sent a pre-trip background reading list and the first few days in Kiev are spent getting a basic introduction to the country. By the end of the nine days they are granted access to politicians and experts whom they can quiz.It is the latest in a series of political trips that the firm has run. The sojourns are not always to potential conflict zones. “We do not go anywhere where there is danger; we wouldn’t do tours of Afghanistan,” says Mr Wood. Other recent excursions have included a US-election package, a tour to Scotland to uncover the issues behind the independence vote, a look at Greece’s financial woes, as well as more off-the-beaten track destinations such as North Korea and Libya. Each tour has, on average, eight people. Journalists and …

Link to article: www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2014/03/political-tourism?fsrc=rss

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