At the top of Lonely Planet’s list of the best countries to visit next year sits the kingdom of Bhutan – likely to be attractive to tourists who are feeling antsy about climate breakdown. The country is carbon neutral and, according to Lonely Planet, has talked up plans to become the first fully organic nation on Earth by next year, likely making it a tempting option for the environmentally minded.
England came second on the list, primarily due to the forthcoming unveiling of its Coast Path, the longest continuous trail of its kind anywhere in the world, followed by North Macedonia, Aruba, Swaziland (eSwatini), Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Liberia, Morocco and Uruguay.
Lonely Planet also presented its list of the top 10 cities to visit in 2020 – with Salzburg, Australia, Washington DC, US, Cairo, Egypt, Galway, Ireland, Bonn, Germany, Laz Paz, Bolivia, Kochi, India, Vancouver, Canada, Dubai, UAE, and Denver, US making up the ranking – and a selection of the most desirable regions in the world for the travelling public. These regions were, in order: the Central Asian Silk Road, Le Marche in Italy, Tōhoku in Japan, Maine in the US, Australia’s Lord Howe Island, Guizhou Province in China, Cádiz Province in Spain, Northeast Argentina, Kvarner Gulf in Croatia, and – perhaps surprisingly, given concerns about forest fires, overtourism and so on – the Brazilian Amazon. Commenting on this last option, Lonely Planet said: “Conservation of the Brazilian Amazon has become paramount. In 2020, thoughtful and well-planned travel to the most important forest on earth will support sustainable travel efforts, simultaneously benefiting local communities and the national economy, and highlighting the cultural and monetary value in preservation.”
Whether a huge influx of tourists is exactly what the Amazon needs right now is open to debate. But the region’s inclusion on the list also highlights a truth of modern travel – that tourists are increasingly looking for exciting and leftfield destinations to head to, which bring with them as many potential dangers as they do benefits. Lists like Lonely Planet’s are instructive as a tool to see what’s trending – and what could soon be trending – but they also offer an opportunity for travel insurers to prepare.
Better start updating those risk profiles ...