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TRAVEL TIPS & INTEL

Emerging Travel Destinations for 2017

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Mark Silvester
Written by Mark Silvester

The most popular travel destinations are popular for a reason, and for good reason. But sometimes you want more profound experiences that these off-the-shelf tourist attractions just can’t offer.

There are many places that let you do just that — step off the beaten track and create an unforgettable travel experience. Here are 5 destinations that are on our radar as places you need to visit in 2017. Better start planning now so you can beat the crowds!

Japan

Japan

Like restoring a missing piece to the jigsaw puzzle, some of Japan’s best sights have been way off of tourists’ maps. The island of Shikoku in the south and the remote Hokkaido Island in the north are Japan’s best-kept secrets. The smallest of Japan’s four main islands, Shikoku is home to Japan’s most famous pilgrimage, the 88 Temple route, while Hokkaido remains almost untouched by the rest of the country’s modernization. Both islands boast immense natural beauty, with glacial lakes, clean air, rolling hills, and a low population-to-space ratio.

What’s so hot about it?

Japan recently started a high-speed bullet train, the Hokkaido Shinkansen, between Tokyo and Hokkaido Island, which should make exploration easier for travelers. Japan will also host the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympic games in Tokyo. Whether you’d enjoy the buzz of the games or the tranquillity of its beautiful isolated islands, now’s the time to start planning!

Papua New Guinea

PNG

Australia’s closest neighbor and one of the least explored countries in the world, Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a collection of islands in the South Pacific that boasts beautiful rainforests, beaches, and misty mountains. Comprising of more than 600 islands, you’re probably going to be the only tourist lounging on a deserted beach. It’s also home to some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world, an interesting World War II heritage, and annual tribal festivals. PNG is an unearthed treasure that has plenty to offer savvy travelers on the hunt for adventure.

What’s so hot about it?

PNG is opening up to the world with cruise lines now adding Milne Bay and Kokopo to their itineraries. Annual tribal festivals are the ideal way to experience the country’s rich culture that also boasts 800 indigenous languages. Must-see festivals are the National Canoe and Kundu Drum Festival in Alotau (held in November) or the Mask Festival in Kokopo (to be held next in July 2017).

Cuba

Cuba

With travel restrictions easing and diplomatic relations restored with the US, Cuba is the perfect place for travelers who want a unique experience. This once forbidden fruit is the largest of all islands in the Caribbean and has over 200 bays and 250 beaches to explore. Colonial architecture and vintage American cars make Cuba feel like a land that time forgot, and this charm is highly appealing to those who are longing to liberate themselves from smartphones, shopping malls, and coffee franchises. On top of producing the world’s finest cigars, Cuba is also home to 9 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

What’s so hot about it?

It’s still quite unspoiled by tourism. However, Cuban tourism is on the rise and there is a demand for improved infrastructure to accommodate the surge of tourists, which means its old-time charm may not last forever.

Mongolia

Mongolia

Known as the “Land of the Eternal Blue Sky” (because it has over 250 sunny days a year), Mongolia is nearly twice the size of Eastern Europe and is one of the least populated countries in the world. Its unique beauty expands across the entire region, from the Gobi desert in the south, the Altai Mountains in the west, a sea of rolling steppe in the east, and the majestic Khuvsgul Lake in the north. With horse trekking, dinosaur fossils, ancient temples, and nomadic communities, Mongolia is a captivating destination for travelers who are looking to get back to a rustic way of life.

What’s so hot about it?

Tourism in Mongolia is on the rise and becoming increasingly important for its economy. The Mongolian government has launched a series of initiatives to strengthen the country’s infrastructure and transportation. Visiting Mongolia now is a way to contribute to this remarkable land’s progress and support its desire to be part of the global community.

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland is an extreme, isolated and dramatic spectacle that holds so much potential for adventure. You can climb mountains, navigate rivers, watch birds, catch fish, gaze at thundering waterfalls, bathe in hot springs, hike through rugged lava fields, and witness the celestial beauty of the Northern Lights. Try exploring the new ice cave at Langjökull, climbing the glacier that inspired Jules Verne at Snæfellsjökull National Park, or embarking on the ultimate road trip by taking on Iceland’s iconic Ring Road (read how to do it in 7 days here).

What’s so hot about it?

The number of travelers visiting Iceland each year actually surpasses its total population! Iceland is an emerging travel destination and is experiencing a steady progression that isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. With Icelandair opening new routes and producing a successful Stopover Buddy campaign, the country is a hot destination. See Iceland before the hordes beat you to it!

Is there an amazing and up and coming destination that we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments below!

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About the author

Mark Silvester

Mark Silvester

From Australia, skateboarder/explorer.

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