Looking for travel inspiration? National geographic just dropped its list of must-see destinations for 2023 and includes a new category.
In December 2021, Laos inaugurated a train linking the north, from the small town of Boten, to the capital Vientiane. The train is around 400 kilometers long and is designed to boost domestic tourism. Around the world, such local initiatives for tourism that support community conservation have been identified by National geographicwhich has decided to make it a separate category in its annual list of must-see destinations for the coming year.
Eighty-four percent of travelers to the United States, Germany, Brazil, France and the United Kingdom would choose Italy for a holiday, according to a Confcommercio/Istituto Piepoli study relayed by the Schengen information portal this week. Meanwhile, a few weeks ago, accommodation booking giant Booking.com reported that Paris had regained its place as the world’s most coveted destination this fall.
And just a few days ago, the “World Travel Awards” designated Portugal as the best tourist destination in Europe. That’s right, the lists of top destinations and award-winning cities and countries often rely on the same locations, just changing the order from year to year.
But for US travel-oriented media National Geographic, a new element has been added to its sheets dedicated to identifying interesting trips and key destinations to plan in 2023. While the “adventure” and “nature” categories will rightly interest backpackers, a new genre, under the “Community,” now offers suggestions for places to go when looking for a sustainable getaway that embraces the principles of slow travel and inclusivity.
Take Laos, featured in National Geographic’s top five. As the country’s borders reopened last May, the country has not waited for foreign travelers to return to boost its tourism, instead focusing on promoting domestic travel. In December 2021, a train named after an ancient kingdom in the region, Lane Xang, was inaugurated, taking travelers some 400 kilometers from the city of Boten to the capital Vientiane. To visit the former capital Luang Prabang, it took at least five hours by road, while with the train, Laotians only need two hours.
At a time when tourism must include more involvement of local communities to better preserve both culture and ecosystems and avoid creating museum cities, National Geographic also highlights the Dodecanese islands. While Rhodes and Kos are the two tourism superstars of this part of Greece, the island of Karpathos is set to take center stage soon thanks to its efforts to integrate locals, such as fishermen and winemakers, into the tourist excursions.
Other destinations singled out for their efforts in terms of sustainability and local involvement mentioned by the media include Ghana. Ghana’s pre-pandemic president Nana Akufo-Addo has urged travelers of African descent to visit the country to “explore their roots”.
Meanwhile in North America, two destinations are part of the dynamic of inclusive travel: the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. due to the transformation of traditional neighborhoods including an arts and culture center dedicated to African American art, and Alberta, a Canadian province, where various sites allow visitors to learn about the history and culture of indigenous peoples of the region.
Here is the full list of National Geographic’s must-see destinations in 2023:
Appian Way, Italy
Busan, South Korea
Longmen Grottoes, Henan Province, China
Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Scottish Highlands, UK
Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA
Azores Islands, Portugal
Revillagigedo National Park, Mexico
Dodecanese Islands, Greece
Trinidad and Tobago
San Francisco, California
This article is published via AFP Relaxnews