We may not have a crystal ball to tell us what to expect in the year ahead, but Expedia does have the next best thing: data. Video / NZ Herald
If your travel bucket list includes spots like The Serengetti or Mykonos, it could be worth revising your plans according to one travel organisation.
Intrepid Travel has released a list of destinations travellers should avoid due to the impact of over-tourism.
According to the travel organisation, great travel comes with great responsibility and while many travellers express a desire to travel more sustainably, this may involve not going somewhere right now, or ever.
“The global tourism industry is changing, and travellers are becoming increasingly conscious of their actions,” said Intrepid Travel CEO James Thornton.
According to the report, 89 per cent of Australians were likely to choose sustainable travel options for their next trip. Similar studies of Kiwi travellers have found a similar desire.
Around the world, ‘over-tourism’ has become a well-known concept amongst, individuals, travel industry professionals and governments too.
In November, the Greek National Tourism Organisation asked international visitors to spread their time around less popular islands. Dozens of destinations from Machu Picchu to Marseille have put rules, restrictions and taxes in place to reduce tourist numbers and mitigate their impact.
While people desire more sustainable travel options, they still want to travel. So, Intrepid Travel created a list of places currently suffering from over-tourism as well as off-the-beaten-track substitutes that have similar qualities and features.
Swap Mykonos for Naxos
Want the white-washed villages and amazing beaches of Mykonos without the crowds? Then head to Naxos, the largest Cycladic island in Greece. Plus, it’s got a rich mythological history, impressive mansions and breathtaking churches that have been perfectly preserved throughout history. Highlights include the Archaeological Museum the unfinished Temple of Apollo, and the old Roman Catholic Cathedral in the square.
Swap Kyoto for Kanazawa
Now Japan is open to tourists, as one of the most searched destinations on Google, the country will likely have a flood of tourists in 2023. Many will head to Kyoto but if you want a fascinating mix of modern and ancient culture, Kanazawa is a favourite spot for Japanese locals. A bullet train ride away from Tokyo, the fishing town on the east coast of Honshu Island is packed with cultural gems like old samurai houses, gold-leaf-making workshops and modern art at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art.
Swap Switzerland for Kyrgyzstan
If you were planning to visit Switzerland for its mountains, glaciers and alpine lakes, why not divert to Kyrgyzstan? Tucked in the centre of Central Asia, the country is dominated by incredible scenery and dozens of hiking tracks that take you around the best of it, from small villages to towering mountain tops.
Swap The Serengeti and Masai Mara for Botswana
The Serengeti and Masai Mara may boast the world’s largest animal migration but Botswana’s Green Season isn’t short of wild animals. In fact, it’s here you’ll see part of the longest recorded migration, with thousands of Burchell’s zebras crossing more than 500km across Namibia and Botswana. If you’ve already seen the Big Five in Africa or want something a little different to the typical experience, add Botswana to your bucket list.
Swap the Inca Trail for Quarry Trail
It may be the most popular, but the Inca Trail isn’t the only way to walk to Machu Picchu in Peru. Travellers can also take the Quarry Trail, a similar but much less crowded track that doesn’t even require a permit. Walkers can still retrace the steps of ancient Inca civilisation, explore the old ruins and learn about the history of the area.
Swap Iran for Uzbekistan
Journey back to the days of the Great Silk Road with a visit, not to Iran but Uzbekistan. Not only is the e-visa much simpler compared to Iran, but it also has a very similar culture and architecture. In Uzbekistan, travellers can see cosmopolitan cities, holy sites, and medieval monuments whilst also experiencing a mix of Soviet, Islamic and Asian cultures.
Swap Sahara for Oman Wahiba Sands
The Sahara is easily one of the world’s most famous deserts but the Wahiba Sands in Oman is a worthwhile rival for curious travellers. These sands are on the eastern edge of the Rub’ al Khali, part of the Arabian Desert that stretches all the way to Saudi Arabia and Yemen and are just a short drive from the ‘Empty Quarter’; the world’s largest uninterrupted sand desert.
Swap Manuel Antonio for Corcovado National Park
If you’ve always dreamed of visiting one of the most biologically diverse places in the world, preferably in Costa Rica, you don’t have to visit Manuel Antonio. Sure, it’s the most famous, but Corcovado offers just as many incredible sights, thanks to massive conservation efforts that protect the park from development. Under the radar, you can enjoy this park’s hiking trails, beach walks and forest sights, minus the crowds.
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