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Friday, January 2, 2009

Hot new travel destination lists... don't you love them? Well, don't you?

We all love a good list, don't we? The travel media have been busy publishing their 'places to go in 2009' lists, the hot 'new' destinations that guidebook publishers and travel publications think you should visit this year, 'it' places they want everyone talking about. Last year I posted a list based on places I'd been that I believed more travellers should visit and it included: Syria, Buenos Aires, Morocco (by road), Western Australia, Antwerp & Brussels, Thailand (road trip rather than beach holiday), Istanbul, Baltic Cities (Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius), Dubai, and Oman. I chose destinations I felt were emerging (the Baltic Cities), often overlooked (Syria, Oman), underrated (Western Australia, Antwerp), misunderstood (Brussels, Dubai), too hot to ignore (Buenos Aires, Istanbul), and places I felt people should experience differently to how they ordinarily might (Thailand and Morocco, which I encouraged people to drive). I'm still mulling over my list for 2009, which I'll share with you tomorrow. For now, here's a taste of the travel media's 2009 lists:
* CONDE NAST TRAVELER/CONCIERGE: Tel Aviv, Bolivia, Utah, Acapulco,Vilnius, Central Philippines, New York City, Rajasthan, Toronto, and Beirut.
* DK TRAVEL GUIDES: Vilnius, Buenos Aires, Gdansk, Seattle, Bristol, Fez, Washington DC, Copenhagen, Cape Town, and Vienna.
* LONELY PLANET: top 10 countries: Algeria, Bangladesh, Canada, Georgia, Greenland, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Peru, Rwanda and Sierra Leone; and top 10 cities: Antwerp, Beirut, Chicago, Glasgow, Lisbon, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Warsaw, and Zurich.
Cartagena; Cape Town; Saqqara, Egypt; Washington DC; Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada; Civil Rights Trail, Alabama, USA; Lassen Volcano National Park, USA; Berlin; Belfast; Istanbul; Cambodia (But Not Angkor Wat); and Waiheke Island, New Zealand.

It's interesting to see the same places popping up, such as Vilnius, Beirut, Istanbul, and Oman. I've long been bewitched by Beirut myself (Terry and I wrote two editions of Lonely Planet's Syria and Lebanon guide, and wrote the Lebanon chapter for the first edition some 5 years ago), but the city hasn't yet stabilized and I can't see it having wide appeal. Ditto Georgia, where heavy fighting with Russia occurred in July this year, and Sierra Leone, where UN peace-keepers pulled out just eight years ago. But part of the point of these lists is to provoke discussion, get us excited about traveling, and influence us into buying books and magazines, isn't it? So, what do you think of the various hot lists floating around?

Pictured? That's the Corniche in Muscat, Oman.


Anonymous said...

Yes Bristol, Bristol, come to Bristol. Soon we will be the hot UK destination. There's loads to see here.

I'm also hoping to make it to Beirut where I have a friend working - she works in the Foreign office, so if she say's it's OK to go, I'll be there.

Lara Dunston said...

Do go to Beirut when you get a chance. It's an amazing city with equally amazing people - I love the Lebanese! - there's something very special about it. And I'll have to get to Bristol one of these days!

Karachi Hotels said...

My grand pa used to tell me old stories of Beirut, never been there yet though. And I'd agree, there is something special about Lebanon, I've been to Baalbek, and thats a place worth visiting.