TCC Headquarters often gets questions about how to count countries that have been divided or “retired,” and whether one must visit the “new” country to get credit. Others have asked if stopping in an airport for a connecting flight counts as a country visit. TCC Past President Kevin Hughes has provided us with a good explanation, which we present below.
“If you have set foot on terra firma, nobody can take that way from you. The fact that a country splits, e.g. Czechoslovakia, does not mean you have to go back again after the name change if you have been to what is now both parts. So, if you have been to Bratislava and Prague in the old days, you have also been to those places in the new countries.
“You can count places which used to be on the list but were taken off due to political changes, but only toward reaching the membership goal of 100 (or 75 for provisional membership). Then you must readjust your count the same way as someone who reached 100 or 104-5 and was there when the countries consolidated. It’s a technical issue, but allows one to become a member somewhat more easily.
“Airport stops do count as long as you get off and touch terra firma. This is because the club had to draw the line somewhere and decided, years ago, not to impose a minimum stay of, say, 24 or 48 hours because some places can be too dangerous or too remote to allow members to comply with this. However, the club does not encourage members to do the ‘airport touch and go’ just to run the numbers up. The decision rests with the individual members.
“The important thing to remember is that, while we all ‘count’ countries, the list should not become an end unto itself. The list is merely a ‘roadmap to the world’ – one, very comprehensive way of determining what the countries and territories of the world are, in a stable, logical way, so we can see how much of it we can visit. Travel is supposed to be fun and enriching, not competitive.”
A rule of thumb – if a country is on the TCC list, it counts!