The World’s Fastest-Growing Destinations
The five countries that saw the largest relative increase in tourism last year.
The United Nations World Travel Organization’s 2016 Tourism Highlights was recently released, featuring the world’s most visited destinations in 2015. The usual suspects were up top: France with 84.5 million visitors and the United States closely following with 77.5 million. But it also revealed the world’s up-and-coming destinations. These five countries reported the greatest increases in visitors from the previous year.
This central Asian country experienced the greatest rise in visitors, an increase of 94 percent to 414,000, but it also saw the lowest number of tourists among all the countries. The Silk Road passed through the country, but today Tajikistan is an adventurer’s playground, with green highlands and mountains great for trekking, climbing and hiking, plus numerous pristine lakes and nature reserves. According to the Tourism-Review, their government is making plans to improve the country’s tourism sector (no official website exists) and increase the foreign inflow.
Adventure travelers are discovering Paraguay, whose visitor numbers were up 87 percent from 2014 to 1.2 million visitors. This rise was a part of the overall 6 percent increase in visitors South America saw as a whole. Paraguay’s climate varies greatly, with the humid subtropical Atlantic Forest in the east and the dry forest of the Chaco in the west. It’s also relatively cheap to visit; one dollar equals 5,485 guaraní.
The Southeast Asian nation saw tourism grow 51.9 percent in 2015 to 4.7 million visitors. Oxford Business Group projects this number will continue to expand, with Myanmar’s investments in infrastructure and increase in awareness from overseas markets.
The country saw a 47.1 percent visitor increase in 2015 to 19.7 million. Mizuki Tachibana, marketing specialist at the Japan National Tourism Organization, credits the increase to Chinese travelers. “Travelers from China more than doubled from the year before, and it keeps rising,” Tachibana says. He cites the growth of the Chinese middle class and the depreciation of the Japanese yen as factors. Overall, the Asia-Pacific region is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations, which you can read more about on RCIVentures.com.
This small Nordic nation grew in visitors by 29.2 percent to 1.3 million. Its geothermal lagoons, pristine glaciers, dramatic landscapes and displays of the northern lights are being discovered by ever-growing numbers. And Reuters reports that the growth in tourism has been spurred in part by the popularity of the Emmy-winning TV show Game of Thrones, which uses Iceland for many of its locations.
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