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Friday, December 14, 2007

The season of listmaking: the New York Times '53 places to go in 2008'

It's that time of year when we all go crazy creating lists: gifts we plan to give, goodies we're going to buy to eat, the Christmas Day menu, New Year's Eve resolutions we're going to make, and places we're going to go in 2008. It seems just like yesterday that we shared some of our own wanderlustful wish lists, and now the New York Times has published its '53 places to go in 2008'. The idea of these 'what's hot next' travel lists is for the travel writer or team of editors to predict the places we are all going to go in the year ahead. The writers should base this on a combination of their own travel experience i.e. they know which destinations have reached tourist saturation point, and which hidden gems are still waiting to be discovered and deserving of some attention; their knowledge of the industry and what's in store for the year ahead; their understanding of global travel trends; and their gut instinct. In this case, the New York Times gets it so very wrong. Not only is their list just plain bizarre, but even its readers are, at best, confused, and at worst, incensed at the choices and reasoning. Go take a look and tell me what you think.

This image, by the way, is a pic of a destination they do get right: Alexandria, Egypt. We were there a couple of years ago and took this from our hotel balcony. Anyone know which hotel it is?


Prêt à Voyager said...

Quite frankly I'd rather go my my own travel wish list than anyone elses. I don't want to be going somewhere just because "everybody's doing it."

Lara Dunston said...

I agree, but not everybody is as travel savvy as you. Those not obsessed with travel, as we are, rely on the travel press to tell them where to go. There are people out there who don't pore through the pages of travel magazines, who don't pick up an atlas every now and again, who have never read a guidebook, and have never heard of Lonely Planet or Rough Guide, who rely on the papers like the New York Times or Sydney Morning Herald or Guardian or whatever to give them a nice easy list of places that they can choose from for their next vacation. It's those people the NYT has done a disservice to.

Prêt à Voyager said...

Very true. The article only feeds the stereotype that you have to "lead a charmed life" (as another travel-writer friend once said) to travel.