Vietnam travel security risk low, but road safety hazard high

By Nguyen Quy   January 7, 2020 | 02:30 am PT
Vietnam travel security risk low, but road safety hazard high
Foreign tourists cross a street in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.
Vietnam has a stable political environment and no terrorism threats but medical risks and traffic accidents remain concerns for tourists.

Vietnam's travel security risk has been classed as "low" in the 2020 annual Travel Risk Map released by International SOS, a travel security services company based in the U.K.

The interactive map ranks countries' level of safety across three criteria: medical, security and road safety.

In Vietnam, violent crime, social unrest and political violence are uncommon. Due to political stability, terrorist attacks are extremely rare in the country of 94 million, where terrorism is punishably by death.

In Southeast Asia, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines are "not completely safe" with a "high" travel security risk while Singapore and Brunei are the safest places to travel.

More than 30 countries, mainly in Africa and the Middle East, have a high terror threat rating.

In terms of medical care, Vietnam is ranked as having "rapidly developing variable risk," which means quality medical care, emergency services, and dental care are only available in major cities while access to these services in some parts of the country may be limited.

However, road deaths are really the biggest obsession for tourists in Vietnam as the country has the second highest road fatality rate in Southeast Asia behind only Thailand.

There were more than 17,000 accidents in 2019, down 5.1 percent from a year ago, which claimed 7,624 lives, a 7.1 percent decrease.

Forty percent of traffic accidents in Vietnam are linked to excessive drinking, according to the World Health Organization.

The shocking figure has prompted the country to issue tougher regulations. A new law taking effect this year doubles cash fines for drunk driving to VND40 million ($1,722) for car drivers and VND8 million ($344) for motorbike riders.

Poor and/or conflict-torn countries Libya, Somalia, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic, all in Africa, are the riskiest countries, according to the Travel Risk Map.

Western European countries Iceland, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland and Luxembourg are the world’s safest places to visit.

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