Spring is well underway across much of the northern hemisphere. However, adverse weather, politics and other developments could still affect travel plans around the world.
April will see huge elections in Asia, delayed polls in several countries and the ongoing Brexit crisis.
Parts of Southern Africa are still grappling with the damage of Cyclone Idai.
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Afghans were supposed to go to the polls in April but the election has been pushed back to July. As we previously mentioned, however, it doesn’t matter who wins. The country has been lost. You can read more in our yearly forecast.
The elections, originally scheduled for 18th April, have now been delayed indefinitely. A new constitution is also to be drafted over the coming months. The move may dampen protests but slow progress towards real reform could prompt a return to unrest. Demonstrators want free and fair elections as soon as possible. They will be frustrated by lengthy delays. They will also be angered if the new constitution simply enshrines more illiberally-selected strongmen to run the country.
The country is set to hold general elections on the 28th April. Opposition parties have been banned from competing so demonstrations could take place in the run-up to the event.
The process remains a crisis. There is so little time and so much yet to be defined.
It remains unclear whether the United Kingdom will leave the EU with a deal, crash out with no-deal or even cancel leaving altogether.
The ongoing uncertainty is hampering investment, polarising society and exacerbating the politics of identity. Anxiety over travel uncertainty is likely to dampen cross-border tourism for a start.
Expect a higher-than-normal risk of civil unrest and potential violence over the course of April. A coup attempt at the end of March followed a controversial election regarded as highly flawed by many observers. Foreign personnel are leaving and the situation is likely to remain tense and even volatile.
The biggest electorate in the world will vote for members of the People’s Assembly in a process spanning from 11th April to 19th May.
Despite setbacks in earlier state elections, the BJP led by Narendra Modi looks set to win. This will spell policy continuity, ongoing economic growth and the slow but steady lifting of poverty levels.
Tensions with Pakistan have calmed since an escalation of cross-border hostilities in February. Nonetheless, the situation remains challenging with an ongoing risk of further spats and flareups around the Line of Control.
Millions of Indonesians will also vote in April. Incumbent president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is competing with former military figure and self-styled strongman Prabowo Subianto.
A re-election of Jokowi looks most likely. The Jakarta Post reports that he is polling very strongly.
His success would likely spell broad policy and economic stability, as well as modest growth.
Note that fighting has escalated in West Papua province in recent weeks. Check the ‘What the Starlings Say’ tab of our country report for the latest updates from our sources in the field.
The Spanish polls take place on the 28th April. The next Spanish government will likely be some sort of left-leaning coalition.
Israel will vote on 9th April. The polls will be close with the stakes raised by recent Gaza Strip air strikes and the US recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.
The Maldives is interested in re-joining the Commonwealth and has requested official observation of the polls which raises hopes for a free and fair election. There are rumours the vote could be delayed from its current scheduled date of 6th April but at the time of writing it is set to proceed as planned.
Elections were supposed to take place in Guyana in March but they have been pushed back. They could still take place in April but be prepared for further delay.
Mali is also due to hold delayed elections this month but they could be delayed by various issues, including security concerns.
Long-standing president Nursultan Nazarbayev announced his intention to stand down as leader last month.
He will likely remain a very influential figure and the country is not likely to become significantly more democratic in the short term.
Nonetheless, the move could help improve the country’s civil and political liberties over what is hoped will be a stable transition period.
Still, however there are some concerns that the economy has not been performing as well as had been hoped in recent years. Prolonged damp growth could lead to increased public discontent.
Nazarbayev was also credited with containing ethnic tensions in the country, which may become more of an issue without his leadership.
As warned in the 2019 forecast clashes between the military and the ethnic Arakan Army (AA) have increased in recent weeks. Expect more incidents, including AA attacks on government and security force interests, as well as retaliatory operations with the potential for indiscriminate damage, civilian casualties and human displacement.
At the time of writing Ukrainians look set to elect one of two men in a run-off vote on the 21st April; either current leader Petro Poroshenko or the popular but political novice comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Whoever wins will have to balance anti-Russian sentiments with a need to renew a critical gas deal between Moscow and Kiev due to expire on the 31st December. You can read more in our yearly forecast.
In what is a continuing theme for the country, we have little more good news to offer. There is ongoing intrigue, US and Russian interference, but essentially Maduro continues to maintain control and loyalty of sufficient portions of the military to stay in power.
Meanwhile, citizens continue to suffer atrocious conditions ranging from frequent power blackouts and shortages to generally rising desperation which in turn is prompting a rise in crime. Many thousands continue to try and flee abroad while the borders are hazardous, both for refugees as well as journalists and aid workers looking to cover and help with the situation.
Fighting between Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition of military powers has now ravaged Yemen for four years.
There appears little hope for a resolution in the near future so large parts of the country will remain devastated and unfixable.
Malawians aren’t voting until May, but electioneering will take place this month.
In our yearly forecast we warned that the winner would face issues such as underdevelopment, poverty, poor infrastructure and a vulnerability to disruptive weather. The latter has become a critical issue over the past month.
These issues are now even more pressing following the damage caused by Cyclone Idai. The weather system caused extensive destruction to parts of Southern Africa when it hit in March.
While Mozambique has been the worst affected, especially around the city of Beira, Malawi, particularly the south, has also suffered extensive damage.
A cholera outbreak is now being reported around Beira. The risk is likely to spread to all areas with damaged infrastructure and compromised drinking water.
There have also been reported security incidents targeted NGO workers.
Seasonal weather changes
In less severe news, the month of April normally marks the complete end of the skiing season in northern hemisphere winter resorts, such as the Alps.
It also marks the end of rainy and tropical cyclone seasons in different parts of the world.
The following countries and territories in particular mark notable weather changes this month:
American Samoa: the rainy season normally ends this month.
Angola: the rainy season normally ends this month.
Bolivia: the rainy season in the northeast of the country normally ends this month.
Christmas Island: the rainy season normally ends this month.
DRC: the rainy season begins in areas north of the equator this month, normally lasting until October.
Fiji: cyclones are relatively infrequent in Fiji but the higher-risk period normally ends this month.
Jordan: after several months of cooling rain, the west of the country now begins to enter the hotter, drier summer months.
Kenya: the country usually experiences a rainy period from now until May.
Kiribati: while typhoons can occur at any time here, the high-risk period normally ends this month.
Madagascar: the cyclone season normally ends this month.
Malaysia: the southwest monsoon normally begins this month and lasts until October.
Mauritania: the dry, aggravating Sirocco winds usually end this month.
Mozambique: the cyclone season normally ends this month.
Reunion: the rainy season normally ends this month.
Rwanda: the rainy season normally ends this month.
Samoa: the rainy season normally ends this month.
Timor-Leste: the rainy season normally ends this month.
Tonga: while cyclones can occur at any time here, the higher-risk period normally ends this month.
Wallis and Futuna: the rainy season normally ends this month.
Zambia: the rainy season normally ends this month.
Where to go
If you’re looking for a pleasant holiday destination, it’s the perfect time to visit many temperate or Mediterranean countries.
Popular travel destinations at this time also include the Caribbean, Central America, Japan, parts of the Middle East, North Africa, Namibia and the United States.
The following is a chronological roundup of various dates, events, festivals, anniversaries and public holidays to be expected over the course of the month:
Cyprus: Cyprus National Day
Argentina: Veterans Day
Senegal: Independence Day
Maldives: People’s Council elections
Rwanda: Genocide Against the Tutsi Memorial Day
Georgia: Day of National Unity
Israel: Knesset elections
Philippines: Bataan Day
Tunisia: Martyrs’ Day
India: assembly elections (until 19 May)
Finland: parliamentary elections
Haiti: Pan-American Day
Honduras: Pan-American Day
Indonesia: general elections
Zimbabwe: Independence Day
Swaziland: King Mswati III’s Birthday
Venezuela: Declaration of Independence Day
Brazil: Tiradentes Day
North Macedonia: presidential elections
Turkey: National Sovereignty and Children’s Day
Armenia: Genocide Memorial Day
Australia: ANZAC Day
New Zealand: ANZAC Day
Egypt: Sinai Liberation Day
Italy: Liberation Day
Portugal: Freedom Day
Tanzania: Union Day
Slovenia: Resistance Day
South Africa: Freedom Day
Spain: snap general elections
Vietnam: Reunification Day
We hope you have safe travels ahead!