Lonely planet Afghanistan

onely Planet is one of the most influential guidebooks in the world. In 2007, the Lonely Planet Library added Afghanistan to its list for the first time. Does this signal a renaissance of tourism in the country and acceptability of travel to and within Afghanistan or does it constitute a form of extreme adventure tourism? Arguably tourists are now returning to several parts of Afghanistan anyway, while the country is also host to a number of foreign aid workers, contractors and military personnel on the ground already who would probably appreciate guidance on things to do and see when they are off-duty. Such activities may also help bring income to some business people and communities while the information may also help cultural sensitivities.

Nevertheless, the guidebook does urge caution and discretion. There is a whole sec- tion on safety, and risk assessments on each region at the start of the relevant chapter. For example, the message regarding the south is basically you should not go there, although the guide is more positive about traveling to Pakistan on the historic route through Jalalabad and the Khyber Pass. A point of debate therefore is whether the publication of a guide will encourage people to travel there or will it be used more for armchair travel?

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