When it comes to travelling, it isn’t always the “where” that’s important, it’s the “why”. One wants to go on vacation to re-charge ones batteries or to reconnect with oneself or another. Sometimes one wants to meet new people or to discover and learn about another place and another culture. When deciding what the next destination will be, one should try to place the focus more on what’s needed from the trip and what can be given back to destinations and local people. Some of the positive aspects of tourism are that it has become a major resource in international commerce. At the same time, it represents one of the main income sources for many countries. This goes hand in hand with increasing diversification, development and socio-economic progress.
That being said there are always trends in the travel and tourism industry. Brazil was a popular choice due to the FIFA World Cup in 2014. Statistics show that a total of one million foreign visitors visited the country for the month-long World Cup event. Soccer is a passion and an art, and it takes form in the shape of Brazil. In comparison, 310 thousand foreign tourists went to South Africa for the World Cup in 2010. Germany received 2 million foreign visitors for the World Cup in 2006. With the 2016 Olympics less than two years away, the World Travel & Tourism Council said earlier this year it expected Brazil will receive 6.4 million international tourist arrivals in 2015. This number will grow to 14.2 million by 2024.
London was another popular choice. The city had 16.8 million visitors in 2013, an increase of 1.3 million from 2012. The increase was due to the summer Olympics. London surpassed Paris and became the most popular destination for tourists in the world.
With the New Year approaching, it’s time to predict future travel destinations discover somewhere new for 2015. Every year, National Geographic releases a list of Must See Destination; this list affects travellers as well. We aim to come across something off the popular path, a travel destination yet to be fully appreciated, maybe an underrated city or a place that just needs more attention.
- Milan, Italy
The Duomo di Milan situated directly in the centre of Milan city.
This City was selected because from the dates of May 1st to October 31st 2015, the city will be hosting the next Universal Exposition. The theme for the Expo will be “Feeding the planet, energy for life.” 144 countries participate in this Expo and Milan is expecting 20 million visitors. It will surely surpass this number because the last Expo in Shanghai received 73 million visitors. Milan is underrated, mostly because of Italy’s main attractions -Rome, Florence and Venice. Of course, other reasons to visit this city include Gothic Cathedrals, museums and monuments, such as the Piazza del Duomo (which will be finished its restoration process in time for the Expo). You can see the city best from the top of the Duomo cathedral. La Scale, another grand cathedral, is known simply as the “home of opera” for over 200 years. Milan is also one of the world’s best fashion districts. Monte Napoleone is the most famous street in Milan where it is home to Gucci, Roberto Cavalli, D&G, Prada, Valentino and Versace; Giorgio Armani’s superstore and his new hotel are at either end of the street. Milan is elegant and stylish yet drowning in history. Each area of the city has its own personality- from very posh to truly quiet places.
- Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
View of Sarajevo from Yellow Bastion, in the mountains
Bosnia has a very complex history. From one end of town to the other, one can literally step through centuries of history, from cobblestoned Ottoman empire to Austrian empire to Socialist Yugoslavian republic and back to modern, independent Bosnia and Herzegovina. This country has something that is hard to find and impossible to mimic – it offers tourists and travellers a time warped experience where you will feel as though you have stepped back in time (in a good way). A touristic spot is Yellow Bastion. It is part of old walls that protected the city, built in the 18th century. Yellow Bastion is up on the hills and has the best view of the city. The Bastion always looks different during each part of the day and every seasons. Locals are always smitten, no matter how many times they see it. To be like a local, it is very trendy in Sarajevo to sit in specialty cafes and enjoy exclusively cigarettes and coffee. It is part of Bosnian culture. Just hours away from the city centre are the Olympic Mountains (Sarajevo hosted the 1984 Winter Games). When it’s cold out, one can enjoy skiing and sledding activities. National Geographic named it one of the Best Adventure Cities. Hikers and mountain bikers have made their mark in their mountainside. Budgeting can easily become one of the immediate downfalls to travel, but if you’re travelling to Bosnia and Herzegovina you can forget the thought of constantly watching your budget, as it is incredibly cheap to get by with food and living costs (particularly when comparing to other European countries). Sarajevo isn’t a glamorous city, but will welcome and charm you with its atmosphere and sense charisma. Season by season, the country is seeing more and more visitors make their way here to discover the beauty on offer… so it’s just a matter of time before tourism really kicks into overdrive. Now is the perfect time to visit Bosnia.
- Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
Old Bagan and New Bagan
Now is the moment to visit this extraordinary land, scattered with temples, where the traditional ways of Asia endure and areas previously off-limits are opening up. Bagan is an ancient city dating to the 9th century. The city has over 10 thousand temples and monasteries scattered across it. Over 2 thousand are in pristine condition today. In a nation with well over 100 ethnic groups, exploring Myanmar can often feel like you’ve stumbled into a living edition of the National Geographic. The country, for instance, has yet to be completely overwhelmed by Western fashion. People still get around in trishaws and, in rural areas, horse and cart. Drinking tea – a British colonial aspect – is enthusiastically embraced in thousands of traditional teahouses. Amazingly, over a century later, Myanmar retains the power to surprise and delight even the most jaded of travellers. Bagan is filled with Buddhist sites and monks walking around casually. In 2013 Myanmar remained a Starbucks-free nation – but that could soon change. As the country makes tentative steps towards democracy, sanctions have been dropped and the world is rushing to do business here. In recent years conveniences such as mobile phone coverage, Internet access and internationally linked ATMs have all improved or made their debut. Relaxing of censorship has led to an explosion of new media and an astonishing openness in public discussions of once-taboo topics, including politics. Parts of the county, off-limits for years by the government, can now be freely visited.
- Muscat, Oman
The Golf of Oman in Muscat
Oman is a small Arabic country in the Middle East. The nation is bordered by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Oman has one of the most diverse environments in the Middle East with various tourist attractions and is particularly well known for Cultural tourism. It was chosen as the capital of Arab tourism in 2013. The country’s beaches and cultural sites are free of tourist crowds. But see them now, because Oman is on the verge of discovery. Muscat offers a combination of sophisticated Arabian heritage and unspoiled natural landscape that includes mountains, sand dunes and beaches, as well as caves, meteorite fields, and more than 500 forts and castles to explore. Oman has embraced modernization, while rejecting high-rises and sky scrapers, which is described as “visual pollution.” The entire city of Muscat is white or pastel with an Arabian palace feel. Muscat has a policy in place to keep visitor numbers down to minimize culture clash. What you see is purely authentic.
This panorama of Space was taken by the deployed Imager for Mars Pathfinder.
It’s only normal that once the globe has been seen that tourists are longing to see the rest of the Universe. After years of anticipation, it’s here: Virgin Galactic is the world first commercial space line. More than 600 travelers have already lined up for the experience, which gets you three days of training at Spaceport America in New Mexico before you rocket into suborbital space. Passengers will experience the unique thrills of spaceflight, enjoying the opportunity to leave their seats to float in zero gravity for several minutes. Looking out twelve large windows, passengers will take in astounding views of space and of the Earth below. The spaceship will hit speeds of up to 2,664 mph and float in zero gravity for several minutes before returning to earth. The price is currently at $250 000 for the experience. When talking about upcoming travel destinations, tourism space travel can very much become a common reality, maybe not in 2015 but definitely with years to come.