National Geographic Travel Unveils Annual Best of the World List

by Richard D'Ambrosio
National Geographic Travel Unveils Annual Best of the World List

Photo: JuliusKielaitis/

If your clients asked you, “Where should I go next?” would you answer Ethiopia?

That’s what National Geographic Traveler magazine is advising its 9.6 million readers, this week publishing its annual Best of the World list of the 21 must-see destinations to visit in the year ahead.

National Geographic called Harar, Ethiopia, “contradictory” and “the most surprising city in east Africa,” rarely traveled to by tourists. “The ‘City of Saints’ boasts 82 mosques, as well as Ethiopia’s best beer, strongest khat (an ubiquitous narcotic plant), and highest quality coffee,” the editors said.

Second place went to Jujuy Province, located in outermost northwest Argentina. Home to the Quebrada de Humahuaca World Heritage site, photos of the region’s Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of Seven Colors) will “elevate your Instagram,” the magazine advised.

Tbilisi, Georgia, took third place on the NatGeo list. “Development is reshaping the cityscape of Georgia’s capital city at a dizzying pace,” the magazine said. “Traditional Georgian experiences — the 24-hour sulphur baths, the plump khinkali (spiced meat dumplings), and the legendary hospitality of the locals — persevere in disarmingly disorganized Old Tbilisi.”

The magazine’s editors devised their list based on their opinions of each destination’s urban environment, culture and natural surroundings.

"We looked for cities that bustle with new energy and intrigue,” said George Stone, National Geographic Traveler's editor in chief, as well as parklands “with vitality and ecological protection,” and “communities rich in local character that offer opportunities for cultural engagement."

Other destinations on the list include Malmö, Sweden (8th); Dublin, Ireland (10th); Phnom Penh, Cambodia (13th); and Friesland, Netherlands (20th).

Not every getaway requires a passport
In the U.S., NatGeo is recommending the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii (7th); Cleveland, Ohio (14th); and San Antonio, Texas (18th).

While the North Shore of Oahu is famous for its surfing, local farms such as Poamoho and Kahuku, “are helping (as the ubiquitous bumper stickers state) ‘Keep the Country Country’ by cultivating homegrown crops and agritourist experiences,” the magazine said. The North Shore’s Mohala Farms allows guests to “exchange labor for lodging.”

Cleveland’s long evolving industrial revival gained it a spot on this year’s list, with a spotlight on the city’s eight theaters at Playhouse Square; the indie-music venue Beachland Ballroom; and its “meat-lovers’ restaurants like the Black Pig and the Plum.” The magazine also recommends visitors “shop and stroll in the revived Hingetown neighborhood and Waterloo Arts District.”

In 2018, San Antonio will celebrate its tri-centennial. The magazine suggests travelers consider joining a year-long party that kicks off this New Year’s Eve with a concert and fireworks extravaganza, “or at any of more than 550 scheduled arts and cultural events.” San Antonio ‘s five missions comprise Texas’ first World Heritage site.

Nearby but a world away
Labrador, Canada, took high marks; as did Oaxaca, Mexico. Fifth-place Oaxaca was featured despite the September earthquakes that rocked the area. Oaxaca’s local markets have “dazzlingly vibrant wool rugs and other handmade textiles” using fruit, insects, and other natural colorants.

Also noteworthy on the list are Tétouan, Morocco; and in the Middle East, the ninth-ranked Jordan Trail. The 400-mile Jordan Trail “is a newly minted hiking path linking ancient trade routes. Divided into eight separate sections, the trail leads through Jordanian forests, canyons, deserts, and along the shores of the Red Sea.”

National Geographic Traveler publishes six times a year and has 15 international editions.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Abercrombie & Kent Expands Luxury Small Group Tours

Company executive talks about the growing demand for trip personalization and how travel advisors can increase their luxury business.

Cox & Kings, The Americas Clears Confusion Amid Affiliate Company’s Financial Struggles

The American-based company said there will be ‘no disruption to the U.S. operations whatsoever, either to current or future travel bookings.’

Palace Resorts and Apple Leisure Group Part Ways

The hotelier’s oceanfront resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean will no longer be distributed through Apple Vacations, Travel Impressions, Funjet Vacations, and Blue Sky Vacations.

Abercrombie & Kent Releases Details of Month-Long 2020 Journey

Founder Geoffrey Kent talks about what inspired him to create the one-of-a-kind luxury private jet adventure.

Luxury Gold Promotes Off-Season Travel to Egypt

The tour operator is offering journeys to Egypt this winter and early spring to allow guests to avoid the crowds and travel in milder temperatures.

Collette Promoting Downton Abbey Mansion Before Movie Release

The tour operator is ready to catch a new wave of interest expected with the release of ‘Downton Abbey: The Movie’ this fall.

News Briefs
Tip of the Day

As travel advisors, we have to be curious. Curiosity leads to impactful connections that pave our road to success. - Jenn Lee, VP of Sales and Marketing, Travel Planners International

Daily Top List

Tips for Reaching $1 Million in Sales

1. Be consistent in your marketing.

2. Create systems and follow them.

3. Use your consortium’s marketing services.

4. Listen for personal details and use them.

5. Leverage your CRM.

Source: TMR

TMR Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
AmaWaterways - Christmas Markets