The rapidly changing landscape of today’s globalized economy means that countries are developing at breakneck pace. Yesterday’s war zones are turning into tomorrow’s tourist destinations at the blink of an eye, while today’s utopias (see: Dubai) are disintegrating just as fast.
Need more convincing? Check out Hans Rosling’s lecture on the rise of Asia over at TED.
Here at Gadling we have our own humble opinions on the next hotsposts for tourist traffic, not the from the socioeconomic perspective, but rather from that of a road hardened traveler. Take a look below:
The memory of the Yugoslav Wars is too fresh for many of us to think of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a tourist destination, but in the ten years since the conflict, the country and its capital city, Sarajevo have made enormous strides. Long gone are the days of ethnic conflict, strife and war crimes — 2009’s Sarajevo is a charming, cosmopolitan city surrounded by hills, cafés and culture.
At first glance Iran doesn’t look very inviting, what with an authoritarian government intent on building nukes and quashing dissent. But look past the politics and you’ll find a hospitable country with excellent cuisine, rugged scenery, and a fascinating history. Add in a reliable bus system and you can have a relaxing vacation with people who love to meet foreigners. The only danger we faced in Iran was the very real possibility of being fed to death.
Although many Europeans have already discovered Morocco, the North African country is still not on the radar for most Americans– but it should be. Perhaps the world’s safest Muslim country, Morocco features labyrinthine markets, delicious cuisine, and access into an amazing culture few truly understand. Best of all, it’s less than an hour ferry ride from the southern tip of Spain.
Soon, Americans will have the privilege of visiting a country that has heartily resisted the capitalist mode of living. It’s true: traveling to Cuba is like going back in time, but it is so much more than that, too. It’s about embracing a nation that has struggled to find its own voice. But Cuba succeeded, and what lies just 90 miles from Florida is a vivacious country that deserves attention, care, and understanding.
Ten years ago, Colombia was branded as the kidnapping capital of the world. Despite decades of drug trafficking, paramilitary threats, and urban crime, this country with its canyons, seas, cloud and rain forests is quickly becoming one of the South America’s — and the world’s — most breathtaking and hospitable travel destinations.
Visit the only African nation never to be colonized. Ethiopia was practicing Christianity when Europe was still bowing down to pagan idols, and their rock-hewn churches and isolated monasteries are centers of learning and the arts. There are natural wonders too–from chilly mountains to blistering desert to African savanna, as well as some of the highest waterfalls in African and the source of the Blue Nile. The Ethiopians discovered coffee and make it better than anyone else in an elaborate half-hour ceremony. What more could you ask for?
Now that they’re earning the big bucks from the canal, the tropical paradise of Panama makes Costa Rica look like Orlando with monkeys. Recent democratic elections saw a peaceful change of power and an ongoing real estate boom is drawing a funky mix of expats and nature lovers. Come for the beautiful virgin rain forest, stunning wildlife, a fascinating indigenous culture and outstanding seashore on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
The cradle of civilization, the home of the Garden of Eden, a unique cuisine and a rich culture.
. .and one of the most war-blighted places in the world. Could Iraq really be the next big tourist destination? A few hardy tour operators and their customers think so. How far will you go to have the adventure of a lifetime?