Iraq and Congo Emerge As Tourism Hot Spots. Really?

Lots of people in the travel industry spend their time trying to identify where’s the ‘next big tourist destination’. Get it right and they’ll be able to make money by offering tours, accommodation and packages. Get it wrong and they’ll be late to the party where all the best hotels, guides and  coaches are already taken. What must add to their sleepless nights is the apparent randomness surrounding which destinations are gaining in popularity and which are declining.

For instance, a substantial number of the UK population would probably associate Iraq and the Congo with things like, well, war. But these two countries have just been ranked as two of the fastest-growing holiday destinations in the world! And the tipster? The world renowned World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

Given that this new information is based on a research study that the WTTC has just carried out amongst 185 countries over the last seven years, then we certainly wouldn’t dispute its findings. We just, err, question whether anyone would actually want to go there given that most of the news coverage is, lets just say less than flattering. The same could be said about Myanmar too which made it onto the top spot.

The top five are made up of the following countries

1          Myanmar

2          Iraq

3          Georgia

4          Rwanda

5          Iceland

Iceland looks pretty tame when compared with the post-conflict zones listed here but we recognise that for some intrepid travellers, being amongst the first to visit these countries adds to the excitement.

That excitement is not always shared by the Foreign Office whose travel advice would be enough to poop any would-be party in Iraq. Their latest ‘advises against all travel in a number of provinces, and advises against all but essential travel to the rest of the country including the rest of the Kurdistan region. There are threats of kidnapping, terrorist attacks, airstrikes, and the potential collapse of the Mosul Dam’.

Mmm.  Are you sure you wouldn’t rather have another look at the Icelandic Tourist Office website?


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