Morocco has been described as one of the few safest countries in the globe for travelers by the US travel advisory issued by the US Department, while Algeria has been included in tier 2 danger requiring “increased precaution” due to the threat of terrorism.
The contrast reflects the security gap in the Maghreb between oil-rich but insecure Algeria and Morocco’s safe environment conducive for tourism and business. While the Moroccan Sahara remains one of the safest regions in Africa, the US state department goes as far as warning travelers from travelling to the Algerian desert due to terrorism activity.
In the MENA region only Morocco, Bahrain and the UAE feature in tier 1 group where travelers are asked to exercise “normal precaution”.
The US State department also lauded the efforts undertaken by Moroccan authorities in the fight against terrorism and through pre-emptive actions against terrorist groups.
As for Algeria, the US State Department urges travelers to “exercise increased caution when traveling in Algeria due to terrorism. Some areas have increased risk.”
The US Travel Advisory even recommends tourists not to travel to “areas near the eastern and southern borders” and “areas in the Sahara Desert due to terrorism.”
“Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Algeria. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning and have recently targeted the Algerian security forces. Most attacks take place in rural areas, but attacks are possible in urban areas despite a heavy and active police presence,” the US State Department said.
It added “avoid travel to rural areas within 50 km (31 miles) of the border with Tunisia and within 250 km (155 miles) of the borders with Libya, Niger, Mali, and Mauritania due to terrorist and criminal activities.”
Countries listed in tier 4 under the banner of “do not travel” include Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and North Korea.