We’ve not just entered a new year, but a whole new decade. There’s no denying that the world is getting smaller and that it’s harder and harder to find untouched corners where mass tourism has yet to take hold.
But there are some spots that are just beginning to feature on people’s travel radars - and it’s well worth booking a trip to see them early in this decade, before they become better known. Harper’s Bazaar is one of the many publications that’s compiled its list of the top places to visit in 2020.
At the very top of its list is Uzbekistan. Although the publication singled out the stunning Registan complex in Samarkand as one of the highlights of a visit to this Asian nation, it noted that there are many reasons for its inclusion at the top of the list.
They include the fact that when the new government came into power in 2016, it placed an active focus on tourism. As a result, there are a growing number of boutique hotels and restaurants popping up that allow travellers to experience all the country has to offer.
Now is definitely the time to go. Jarrod Kyte, product director at Steppes Travel, which has been operating in the country since the fall of the Soviet Union, saw a 200 per cent increase in passengers to Uzbekistan in 2019.
“It’s the antidote to over-tourism,” he asserted. “Unlike elsewhere in the world, encounters with people in the Stans have not yet become commoditized due to the low tourist footfall.”
CNN Travel listed another Central Asian nation among its must-visit spots in 2020 - Kyrgyzstan, which it described as “a perfectly formed jewel of a country”. The natural landscapes are a particular highlight here, the publication notes, with its canyons, lakes, mountains and high-altitude meadows offering plenty to enjoy.
If you’re looking for somewhere that’s relatively easy to reach from Australia, you might be tempted by the Philippines, which comes in at number ten on the Harper’s Bazaar list. The news provider pointed out that, in the past, it’s been overlooked in favour of the likes of Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia.
Although it’s still very much developing its tourism offering, it has a lot to offer, with one of its big selling points the chance to discover “untouched island bliss”.
If you fancy travelling all the way to Europe, there are a number of destinations you could add to your itinerary. Montenegro is one that’s on the up, with its national parks one of the big attractions here.
The highest ranked European destination on the list is Paris and Versailles, however, which sneaks in at number 11. The reason, according to Harper’s Bazaar, is that there’s always something new to see and it’s a perennially beautiful city.
On the CNN Travel list, meanwhile, the top European destination to explore this year is Denmark’s Copenhagen. In 2020, a number of things are happening to make this city worthy of your attention.
Firstly, the Kongens Nytorv square is reopening after being closed for seven years to allow for the construction of a new metro line. This metro will make it even easier to explore the city too. The Museum of Copenhagen is also set to reopen in 2020, after a renovation.
Wherever you’re intending to explore this year, make sure you’ve got your annual multi trip travel insurance sorted before you start booking any breaks.