Is It Wrong To Visit Countries With Oppressive Regimes? Vote in the Poll

Don’t forget to vote in the poll at the bottom of this post!

Last week I wrote how you could now send your kids to North Korea for summer camp. In the post I jokingly mentioned the idea of sending Lucas to camp there for a week so Kim and I could go on one of the tours of the closed-off country.

Some people weren’t sure if I was joking or not and were very against my plan. Others mentioned that they would “refuse to support a government responsible for atrocities that we know are rampant in N. Korea”.

Now I’m not going to claim to be an expert of any kind on the state of North Korea, but I do know some people that have been on these guided tours. I know that they are not the most authentic experience considering all tours require a government minder to monitor what is and is not allowed to be seen.

One of the commenters on my post from last week- Linda wrote “I just don’t understand people that would support KJU by their tourism. It frankly shocks me that people do this.”

I responded by writing “There are many countries that people visit that do not treat their people well yet tourists still go. I would like to visit N.Korea to see it in person although I know it will not be an authentic experience. Would I really send my kiddie there, no- I was kidding around”.

Linda then responded with ” And justifying bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior is one of the lowest forms of argument but is sometimes one’s only resort when arguing from such a weak position. Like my mom would say, “Would you jump off a bridge if everyone else was doing it”. I believe in promoting responsible tourism”.

Now I wasn’t trying to justify any bad behavior or what is right or wrong. To be honest, who am I to judge where a person visits? That is a personal decision.

Commenter Linda mentioned how it is wrong to visit (and essentially support the government of) North Korea. I have read some of the crazy things the government has done but would never claim to be any sort of expert with my limited readings.

Maybe I am a bit naive when it comes to these issues.

The world as a whole can visit Cuba but for us Americans it is off-limits unless we overly pay to visit as part of a tour. Is it acceptable to visit Myanmar (Burma)? What about the oppressive Arab states where women’s rights are a joke? Should we stop visiting Russia due to the aggressive actions it is taking in Ukraine?

Again, whose right is it to judge?

Let us know how you feel about this issue in the poll below.

Is it acceptable to visit countries with oppressive regimes?

  • Everyone has a right to decide for themself what is right (31%, 18 Votes)
  • It depends on which country (27%, 16 Votes)
  • No (22%, 13 Votes)
  • Yes (20%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 59

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6 thoughts on “Is It Wrong To Visit Countries With Oppressive Regimes? Vote in the Poll

  1. Who is Linda to tell you how to spend your own money? For her, it’s wrong to visit countries with “oppressive regimes” and that’s her right to believe that. However, to explicitly state it’s wrong when the US government allows US citizens to go there and the DPRK allows US visitors to visit, I leave you to be the judge. 😉
    I’ve been to DPRK two years ago and oddly enough, I learned there is a huge market of tourism there —- for Chinese! Mainland Chinese folks who live in the area find it is easier to vacation in DPRK to see its beaches rather than travel down to Hainan.
    The next time I go, however, I hope to at least learn elementary Korean and travel with a friend who speaks and understands the language so I can get a better overall understanding of the country.
    I’ll admit that going to DPRK has made me appreciate the USA more. Since I live in NYC and am used to commercials/posters everywhere, it was quite refreshing to see a city with barely any private stores/billboards/etc. other than national propaganda.

  2. I struggle with this also. As an avid traveler, I want to travel to as many places, see as many things and experience as many cultures as I can. I really do believe traveling is not just about seeing the sights but it’s also about learning about other people and hopefully, learning a little bit more about ourselves as well.

    But on the other hand, I completely see where Linda is coming from. America is not perfect by any means and we have some issues of our own. But there are many countries out there that are far worse when it comes to human rights. Her argument is that we shouldn’t support countries that deprive their people (or others) of basic rights and by doing so, they might understand the economic impact and change their ways, or at the very least understand that we respect their foreign sovereignty but do not condone their treatment of people. I totally get it.

    That being said, I think that there can still be positive results to responsible tourism to oppressive countries. And travel is a personal decision. If someone wants to see a destination and has decided the positives of their travel outweighs the negatives, that should be their choice and we are in no position to tell them what to do.

  3. Drew- LOL I think…

    Joey- Thanks for the support! I can’t imagine someone saying that its easier to travel to NK… Interesting stuff! That would be amazing to learn Korean but I doubt that you’d actually get the chance to actually speak freely to the people there. Oh, and propoganda posters as refreshing? I don’t know…

    Mark D- LOL I’m guessing there was a bungee tied to your legs?

    James- You make some great points and I totally agree with you! Thanks for the comment.

  4. I voted everyone has the right to decide, BUT, having said that I think it is stupid for anyone to visit dangerous places and if they do they deserve what they get. i.e the idiots who think it is fun to visit the DPRK or Iran or some part of Africa. You venture into that sort of place, do not expect the world to come running to your rescue, you totally deserve whatever you get. No ifs no buts, you are supposed to know. Some places might be more dangerous than you think, for example… Thailand is less dangerous than Malaysia, where people are frequently abducted from resorts.. for example. Where do we draw the line? It it for you to figure out.

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