Trying to find the safest country in the Middle East is quite similar to picking a needle out of a haystack. In our modern world it would be the equivalent of trying to find an 18 year world without an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy smart phone. You really should upgrade if you don’t already have one.
Tragically it seems as if the only things we hear about the Middle East recently contain visions of war, hate, and chaos.
Culturally, the Middle East spreads across geographic borders across Africa all the way to central Asia. Many people I find on the road have never heard of countries whose cultures coincide more with the Middle East more than their European neighbors such as Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan which all contain over 90% muslims demographically.
Remember the country that Borat was from without Googling it?
Hint… it ends with “stan”
Outside of Saudi Arabia, and now Dubai, no other countries in the Middle East posts significant tourism numbers. With the fresh crises of Syria, Egypt, and now Turkey, many consider trips to the Middle East a trip better planned for never.
Jordan lost $1 billion in tourism revenue in 2011 because of the instability in the region.
There are some countries that have more culturally to see than others. The pyramids and pharaohs of Egypt have long been a dream for many while the bustling capital of Turkey, Istanbul, remains one of the most fascinating cities in the world.
In trying to find the safest country in the Middle East I considered all of the countries in the region but only judged those nations that most of us would likely visit. Most tourists have between two and four weeks of vacation and don’t live a nomadic lifestyle living overseas as I do.
Most of us are never going to visit countries such as Libya, Algeria, or even Saudi Arabia.
While Saudi Arabia posts impressive tourism numbers among Middle Eastern countries remember that most is religious tourism (two of the most holiest cities for Muslims are in Saudi Arabia).
Dubai has set a record in 2012 by receiving over 10 million tourists. We also have to consider that the up and coming city has become the financial and business center of the Middle East. Jordan possesses a considerably higher amount of tourist attractions and things to see than both destinations combined.
If there is one destination to choose in the region it should be Jordan.
Jordan was popularized when Petra was chosen as one of the new seven wonders of the world in 2007.
In full disclosure the Jordan Tourism Board sponsored our trip. Many would comment that I did not have a true experience because I was hosted by the tourism board. However, I still actively went out on my own, especially at night, to experience the cities without the guides to meet the people and ensure I got a real taste of the country.
We also ran a contest that involved a one year free training program to learn how to day trade in the stock market. I day trade for a living and is the primary reason why I have been able to travel around the world for so long.
This experience alone and how it was handled by the tourism board also provided insight into the culture of the country.
The first and most important aspect of safety is that most people in the country speak English. I only encountered a small number of people in the rural regions where I had to communicate with my broken Arabic.
Very broken Arabic.
Even then, everyone was kind and courteous and insisted I stay for tea with hand signals if necessary. The most significant change in the country occurred when a peace treaty was signed between Israel and Jordan in 1994. Jordan’s place in the world stage was officially set with the iconic Petra as one of the new seven wonders of the world.
Even President Obama said about Petra, “this is pretty spectacular” and “it’s amazing” according to NBC news. Who wouldn’t believe the words of the wise President Obama?
The demilitarized zone of the Dead Sea is now one of the bustling tourist districts of the country adding to the reasons why it is one of the safest countries now in the Middle East.
The infrastructure throughout the country is extremely modern. Visiting some of the major attractions on our visit all the roads were paved and we didn’t have any issues at all.
I never once felt uneasy or conscious about security. Considering that the region is so close to Israel and even Syria one would think that this would be an issue. The truth is the people of Jordan are very liberal, modern, and social.
I actually felt more uneasy in Israel as there was so much security throughout the country. The similarities between Jordan and Israel are many. Since Jordan relates more to the Arab world there isn’t as much of a concern about security as most of their allies are in the region.
Even with the turmoil continuing to flare in the region I would highly recommend a trip to Jordan. My trip opened my eyes to parts of history that many wouldn’t even consider. The city of Jerash in Northwest Jordan contained one of the best preserved Roman cities outside of Italy.
Jordan is definitely WanderingTrader approved! Look forward to sharing more tidbits of a very unique country I began to like very much.
Is Jordan really the safest country in the Middle East? Visit first and then let me know!