Other Countries A US President Has Never Visited

President

President Barack Obama will land in Myanmar (aka Burma) this week, a first-time visit for any President of the United States. Never mind that Myanmar is best known as a brutal dictatorship, not exactly in line with U.S. foreign policy. Disregard any political or geographically strategic reasons for befriending Myanmar. Today, this is all about the President being the first to visit Myanmar and the trip begs the question: “So are there other countries that no sitting U.S. President has ever visited?”

Out of the 190+ countries in the world, just 113 of them have been visited by a President of the United States, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Historian.

Countries not visited include close-by neighbor the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, St Kitts, St Lucia and assorted tiny island-nations. Understandable, we would probably view a visit to the harmless Seychelles as a taxpayer-paid vacation anyway.

On the continent of Africa, more nations have not been visited than have been by a U.S. President. Again, probably not a lot of strategic reasons to stop by.But some big-name countries we might think that some President, somewhere along the way, might have visited; not one has.

  • Monaco, the second smallest country/monarchy in the world and the most densely populated country in the world boasts the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino.
  • Algeria, in northern Africa, famous for its vast Sahara in the south..
  • Nepal- famous for eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains. No visit.

Armenia is a country one might think worthy of a trip by any standards. Bordered by Turkey to the west, Azerbaijan to the east, Georgia to the north and Iran to the south, Armenia does seem to have a strategic location. Still, no visit.

Presidential travel takes any given sitting head of the free world to countries all over the planet on visits of good will. Meeting face to face with world leaders, attending meetings and spreading good old American spirit around when they can, Presidents are a big ticket when they come to town, along with Air Force One and more as we see in this video


Oh, and that trip to Myanmar? While President Obama is the first U.S. President to visit, he’s not the first Obama. The president’s grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, was a cook in World War II for a British army captain stationed in what was then called Burma.

[Photo Credit: Flickr user 0ystercatcher]

Caribbean tourism surges

When the global economic crisis grew into the monster it became and began impacting the lives of people everywhere, the amount of vacations to the Caribbean, not surprisingly, sharply declined. Of all expenses budgeted into any one family’s financial plan, these expensive vacations, once sources of annual pride for members of the bourgeoisie, were among the first to go.

Luxurious beachfront vacations commonly cost thousands to put together for a family–and then there’s the money lost from not working for any traveler without vacation pay (…and here I am daydreaming about what it’d be like to be a travel writer with vacation pay…). Clearly, most other types of spending in everyday life come before this kind of spending during times of economic hardship.

But for the first time since this devasting blow to the Caribbean tourism industry in 2008, travelers are visiting the area again in steadily increasing numbers. Yahoo! News reports that more than 23 million tourists visited the region in 2010, myself included thanks to my September trip to Grenada. This is close to a 5 percent increase from 2009.

The jump in tourism is largely due to cruise ship passengers. Travelers like these spend less money to visit destinations, like the Bahamas, than those actually staying on the islands. Although hotels in the Caribbean only saw a 1 percent rise in occupancy last year, it’s looking like those numbers too will be up in 2011.

Now that Caribbean travel is again popular, I’m curious: which Caribbean destination would you most like to visit this year if given the opportunity?

[photo by Elizabeth Seward]