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Published on : Saturday, January 9, 2016
As the global travel industry is going through a rapid transformation, the changing choices of travelers are closely observed by travel experts worldwide. Depending on the emerging tourism prospects and the bucket list destinations of the travelers from the developing nations, here are the top 10 places to go in 2016. Whether searching for mountain gorillas in Rwandan jungles, trekking the glaciers of Greenland with a climate change scientist, sipping yak butter tea with nomads in Mongolia, or strolling the bazaars of Iran, these destinations allure travelers with their unique opportunities.
1. Mongolia – Mongolia’s endless grassland and desert steppe make a dramatic backdrop for the tiny round gears of lone nomadic families. Buddhist monasteries mark the vague tracks across the steppe and the annual festival, Naadam, still showcases nomadic skills. But times are about to change: Geologists and miners are searching for riches under the ground, and the government plans to pave roads connecting all provinces to capital Ulaanbaatar by 2020.
2. Iceland – The scenery is dramatic, beautiful, nearly absent of trees, and littered with volcanic lava. The visual splendor of the island can be enjoyed on foot, vehicle, bike, boat, or horse. Iceland boasts amazing brown trout and char fishing and is a mecca for salmon fishermen. It is as famous for its gastronomic delights, too. Add to that an Icelandair Stopover promotion that lets travelers spend up to seven nights in Reykjavik en route to their final destination at no additional airfare. Iceland-based low-cost carrier WOW Airlines also continues to expand in North America.
3. Greenland – Greenland offers fantastic landscapes of pristine beauty, exotic, arctic wildlife and abundant northern lights. The spring provides a taste of the beauty of Greenland during a time of the year when the snow and sea ice are still thick enough for dog sledding and the saltwater fish are biting. Late April is dark enough at night to see the magnificent Northern Lights, and this time of year is also one of the best to see the magnificent wild musk-ox herd near Kangerlussuaq. March 2016 will welcome the international Arctic Winter Games to capital Nuuk, along with a song, food and dance festival.
4. Iran – Once the seat of the mighty Persian Empire, Iran is a complex place of searing beauty with shapely domes, mosaic-clad minarets and arched madrassahs set against a brilliant blue sky. With a culture that prizes hospitality above all, the people of Iran pride themselves on being friendly and warm to travelers, wherever they are from. The easing of diplomatic relations is resulting in added flight routes, while travel insurance and visas are becoming easier to obtain. The reopening of the British Embassy this year is another good thing for Iran travel.
5. Rwanda – Encounter some of the last remaining mountain gorillas in the world by trekking into the lush forests of Rwanda, home to hundreds of species of birds and numerous waterfalls. Explore Kigali, one of Africa’s cleanest, safest, and most progressive cities, and visit the important genocide memorial. Track chimpanzees and the beautiful golden monkey, and keep an eye out for elephants and buffalo. Enjoy a boat ride on the massive Lake Kivu, spend time relaxing on the beach, and enjoy some of the world’s best coffee.
6. Georgia – The little country of Georgia is a gorgeous place boasting fabulous food, music and mountains. Its warm Mediterranean climate, deep black soil, saw-toothed mountains and Black Sea coast combine to make a Garden of Eden, overflowing with wine and rich in culinary flair – everything you could wish for in a destination. Cheap flights, new routes, and improved infrastructure confirm Georgia as a top destination for 2016.
7. Patagonia – Join renowned South American photographer and nature documentary filmmaker Ossian Lindholm on a Patagonian hiking and photo tour that blends Chiloe Island and Torres Del Paine National Park. Evenings are spent at the award winning EcoCamp Patagonia in its sustainable, comfortable, geodesic Suite Domes, the region’s first fully sustainable accommodation south of the Amazon. The new Patagonia Park has transformed a cattle ranch in Chile’s Aysen region into a land of glaciated peaks and wildlife. It should gain National Park status in 2016.
8. Antarctica – See it before it’s gone. Explore the wildlife-rich shores and waters of remote Antarctica on a small ship cruise. Guests will encounter colossal icebergs and ice landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see. Hardy adventurers or those with a yearning for history can camp out on the ice and feel the thrill and audacity of early explorers who attempted to conquer this continent. The abundance of wildlife is truly extraordinary, including five seal species, massive penguin rookeries of Gentoo, Adelie and Chinstraps, as well as a profusion of seabirds from albatross to skuas. Interest in Antarctica is set to swell.
9. Colombia – Colombia is a diverse country with many of the ingredients that attract travelers to Latin America. Both modern and historic, Colombia’s cities of Cartagena, Bogota, and Medellin are beautifully-located, vibrant, and welcoming. Get out of the cities and find a slower pace in Colombia’s countryside. Trek in the Andes, raft through a remote canyon, or explore an ancient ruin in Colombia’s rainforest. The Colombia tours offer authentic travel experiences of a country still waiting to be re-discovered.
10. Romania + Bulgaria – Explore the complex history and fascinating culture of Bulgaria and Romania, two Balkan countries whose rugged terrain and consequent isolation have helped preserve their heritage. Discover the luminous frescoes of the painted monasteries, breathe in the fragrance of the Valley of the Roses, and spend an afternoon visiting with villagers in a tiny Transylvanian town.