Hopefully the New Year will endow allof us with endless opportunities to travel. If you don’t have yoursights set on anything in particular, check out what’s going to be onthe global tourist radar in 2011. Bonvoyage!
Those who keep a watchful eyeout for unique travel opportunities have most probably takennotice of Curacao. After all, how often does it happen that the worldgets an entirely new country? 2011 will mark the island first fullyear as an autonomous nation after the Netherlands Antilles wereresolved on 10 October 2010. Now independent and responsible for itsfinancial well-being, Curacao will surely bet on its strongest horse– vibrant history, marvelous architecture and irresistibleCaribbean charm. You may expect more flights and hotel rooms to caterto all budget ranges, as well as warm hospitality and plenty oftourist attractions.
Once financial crisis hit Iceland, everyone readily assumed it isdirt cheap to travel around. Well, not as much as you’d think,probably, but if you’ve always had your mind fixed on visiting thefabulous country of fire and ice and procrastinated for budgetaryreasons, then it might be the right time to go. The problem withIceland is that it has always been more pricey than otherdestinations in Europe, but with a substantial decrease in theexchange rate, you might consider it a bargain even if you get to paybetween $75 and $100 for a hotel in Reykjavik. So, you’d better packa pair of good trekking boots and off you go. Once Iceland fully getsback on its feet, it may never be as “affordable” as it is now.
Tallinnis shaping up to be one of the premier tourist attractions in theGulf of Finland. This vibrant city, with the astonishingly wellpreserved medieval old town, has just been designated as one of theEuropean Capitals of Culture in 2011 and is eager to demonstrate thatsmall as it may be, it is capable of huge cultural accomplishments.Alongside enchanting Estonian spirit, numerous sites to explore,bargain shopping, and bustling nightlife, tourists will be treated toan endless list of events including carnivals, exhibitions, concerts,audio-visual arts and sporting competitions. Every day the capital ofEstonia will burst with culture at its best, and you surely don’twant to miss it.
New York City, USA
There’s nothing really surprising about New York‘s presence on allsorts of top 10 lists. It’s always a good time and there’s always areason to visit, but NYC is truly a destination to have an eye on in2011. A bunch of anniversary events are going to take place,including the The Statue of Liberty’s 125’s birthday, Carnegie Hallturning 120 and the New York Public Library celebrating itscentennial. Also, several museums will be reopened and the expansionof hotel base continued so travelers should be able to find a comfyplace falling into their budgets. Most importantly, the inaugurationof the National September 11 Memorial will commemorate the tragicevents of September 11, 2001.
In the 2010 edition of World’s BestAwards, the Galapagos were voted the best islands, so it’s worthchecking out what’s behind the honors. After all, it beat Hawaii,Bali and Maldives, and that needs a considerable package ofsuperlatives. Scattered around the equator, some 970 km (525nmi) west of continental Ecuador, the volcanic archipelago is wherethe adventurous feel at home. You can come up close and personal withgiant tortoises, sea lions, penguins, marine iguanas and various birdspecies inhabiting the remote, barren land – a unique, wild ecosystemthat largely inspired Charles Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection.However, a growing number of tourists has been causing such concernsthat plans have been brought up to limit tourists to one visit to theislands during a lifetime. If so, why not use your credit next year?
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Visitorsto Riode Janeiroin 2011will find the city in the heat of excited development. Not only willthey be able to enjoy the sun, sea and samba, but will also welcome anew face of Rio- posh, sophisticated and glamorous. Of course thereare still safety issues and poverty pokes in the eye, but millionsinvested in remodeling before the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympicshave really made the difference. With such major events in sight, perhaps it’s just the right time to go – you can already enjoyRio’s fresh image and still avoid the crowds that with all likelihoodwill flood Brazil in the coming years.
As the oldest continuously inhabited urban settlement on Earth,Syria has more stunning ancient sites than you’d ever think. Mostimportantly, while most other countries in the Middle East arebecoming less and less affordable, Syria keeps the pricesridiculously low, but who knows how long this bargain treat is goingto be served. The Crac des Chevaliers , calledthe mo
st wholly admirable castle in the world, charges less than US$5entry, so you get the picture. Bustling souqs, great food, intriguingcultural heritage and endearing hospitality of the people all come atan equally attractive price.
As far as cheap beach vacations areconcerned, Thailand has long had the edge over its Southeast Asianneighbors. The added advantage of delicious food and fascinatingcultural heritage made it a bull’s-eye destination for visitorsseeking bargain prices, tropical climate, awe-striking sights andlots of pampering for the senses. But the time has come to give thethrone to the Philippines. With more than 7,000 islands, stunningmarine life, beaches of all sorts, awesome wreck diving opportunitiesand exceptionally wallet-friendly prices, the archipelago may for along while remain the world’s premier beach holiday destination. Ifthat’s the kind of pleasures you’re after, book a spot under a palmtree before others learn about it…
Machu Picchu, Peru
The whole Peru is certainly a destination toconsider, but Machu Picchu seems to be the hottest spot in thecountry’s calendar for 2011. The year marks the centenary of thefirst ever foreigner to reach the site and herald its presence to thewhole wide world. Steps have been undertaken to make it an even morememorable experience to the visitors, especially that the site hasbeen closed for a while due to heavy flooding and travelers arewaiting impatiently to race into the incredible realm of the Incas.The nearest town, Aguas Calientes, is supposedly going to be moreeye-pleasing and visitor-friendly, so the overall impression of thetrip might even exceed your expectations.
Dohais just about to put a finishing touch on its four million squaremeter artificial island called The Pearl, which is enough to throwthe capital of Qatar into the limelight. If you’re eager toexperience the oil-funded splendor of the Gulf but somehow fear theoverwhelming glamor and pretentious facade of Dubai, Doha is aslightly milder form of Arabian opulence, plus it has nicer beachesand more gourmet restaurants to choose from. Numerous world-classsporting events taking place in 2011 will delight avid fans while thethird edition of Doha-Tribeca Film Festival will draw countlesscelebrities and reaffirm the Arab presence in the international filmindustry.
Has anything caught your eye? Or is the anticipated popularity good enough a reason to head in the opposite direction?