Madagascar Makes List of Top 12 Fastest-Growing Tourist Spots

Go before they’re swamped! Sierra Leone tops the list of countries where tourism is growing fastest, with Iceland and South Korea not far behind

1. Sierra Leone: This country on the west coast of Africa has plenty to recommend it, among them national parks, mangrove swamps, sandy beaches and the Loma Mountains in the north. It saw a whopping 310 per cent rise in visitors in 2016, in part due to the country being declared Ebola-free at the end of 2015

2. Nepal: Long-adored by travellers around the world, Nepal, with its location in the Himalayas and array of monasteries, is a special place indeed. According to the United Nations World Travel Organization, in 2016 it saw 39.7 per cent more visitors trickle in than the previous year

3. Iceland: This stunning country’s long-running role as a Game of Thones setting could play a part in its ever-increasing visitor numbers. The lure of mountains, hot springs, black-sand beaches and glaciers led to a 39 per cent rise in tourists last year

4. South Korea: Over the years, this destination has been growing fast, both for business travellers and increasingly with tourists. Expect a mish-mash of old temples in parts and shiny new skyscrapers in others

5. Moldova: It became independent from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and, located between Romania and Ukraine, part of its charm is that it hasn’t yet been over-developed. The destination offers unspoiled landscapes, a unique history, impressive monasteries and a thriving wine industry. And tourists are catching on, with an increase of 28 per cent last year

6. Chile: With tourism up by 26 per cent last year, Chile is getting ever hotter. Sweeping down South America with deserts and glaciers – this is a place that harbours enticing extremes

7. Vietnam: Another spot that is hardly undiscovered, but that has an appeal that continues to bring more and more visitors each year. Its winding rice fields (pictured) are one of the lures

8. Japan: Filled with Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, imperial palaces, mountainous national parks and cherry blossoms, Japan’s popularity has been on the rise for a while now. Last year, it saw a 21 per cent spike

9. Liechtenstein: The sixth smallest country in the world is also one of the most undiscovered – the second least-visited in Europe – though it’s hard to see why given its quaint appeal.Nestled between Austria and Switzerland, Liechtenstein has much to recommend it, not least the 12th century fortress that acts as the official residence of the country’s prince.

10. Kiribati: With the nearest civilisation five hours north in Hawaii, this paradisaical spot is the definition of seclusion. Its 33 coral atolls, with their majestic turquoise lagoons, cover a massive 1.3million square miles of the Pacific

11. Kuwait: This Arab nation may have an ancient cultural heritage, but it does a nice line in futuristic skyscrapers, too

12. Madagascar: Rounding out the list at number 12, with a 20 per cent increase in visitor numbers last year, Madagascar’s most famed natural wonder is its staggering Baobab trees (pictured) – but there’s plenty more to discover elsewhere in its rich jungles


Author: Annabel Fenwick Elliott
Publication: Mail Online
Published: 30 Aug 2017
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