National Tourist Offices are wasting no time in promoting the delights of the 10 regions selected by Lonely Planet as the best places in the world to visit in 2017, many of them little known.
Cashed-up tourists will be hurrying to visit the regions before they fill with tourists.
Regions in Peru and New Zealand head the list.
Lonely Planet, founded by Australian couple Maureen and Tony Wheeler, is a story in itself, sold to the BBC a few years ago and then on-sold to a media-shy American billionaire named Brad Kelley, who appointed an unknown former wedding photographer to run the operation.
Lonely Planet has named the Peruvian archaeological ruins of Choquequirao as its number-one must-visit regional destination in 2017. Lonely Planet portrays the ruins as an Incan treasure where you can discover like a true explorer, sit peacefully on your own and appreciate the mountains, flying condors and the Apurimac River.
Located on the border the Cusco and Apurimac districts, the archaeological ruins of Choquequirao largely fall in the shadow of the world-renowned Machu Picchu, which is also located within the district of Cusco. Lesser-known Choquequirao lies off the beaten path and demands a four-day trek and overnight camping in order to arrive to the site.
“Visitors making the four-day trek can expect to see an abundance of flora and fauna, impressive landscapes of the Apurimac River and the splendour of Incan terraces, plazas, chambers and other structures without the crowds otherwise founds at Machu Picchu,” says PromPerú.
Lonely Planet says a cable car is due to be installed there in 2017 “or later”.
Taranaki, New Zealand was second in the Lonely Planet list, delighting Tourism New Zealand. Figures released a week or two ago show that tourism has overtaken dairy produce as New Zealand’s top earner of overseas dollars.
Lonely Planet quotes an old joke: most travellers who reach Taranaki have taken a wrong turn. Just 2% of New Zealand’s international visitors venture there. Located halfway between Auckland and Wellington on New Zealand’s west coast, the Taranaki region is dominated by the symmetrical volcanic cone of Mt Taranaki, a lookalike to Mt Fuji in Japan and featured in the Last Samurai movie starring Tom Cruise. Taranaki’s rugged and wild coastline is home to more than 12 world-class surf breaks.The Azores, an archipelago of nine volcanic islands in Portugal, is number three on Lonely Planet’s list. The publication warns that the Azores could become “the next Iceland” – Iceland being a destination which suddenly became a cool place to visit, attracting big numbers of tourists. In Iceland’s smaller settlements, tourists sometimes outnumber residents.
The Azores may be heading the same way – it has seen a 31% increase in tourism over the past 12 months, Lonely Planet notes.
The next seven destinations on Lonely Planet’s list of 10 are, in order:
- North Wales, UK. “Snowdonia National Park – Wales’ largest – has been designated a ‘dark-sky reserve’ thanks to its lack of light pollution,” says Lonely Planet.
- South Australia. The only Aussie destination included in the Top 10. Lonely Planet describes it as: “the coolest mix of brilliant wine country, abundant produce festivals, stark and stunning tracts of picturesque Aussie outback and crowd-free beaches that could make even the Bahamas jealous”.
- Aysén, Chile (a region in Chilean Patagonia). Lonely Planet’s take: “foggy fjords give way to brooding rainforests, bone-dry pampas and powder-blue lagoons”.
- The Tuamotus, French Polynesia. “A perfect ring of islets edged with sandbars and ruffled coconut trees.”
- Coastal Georgia, USA. “A coastline complete with quirky towns, historic treasures and wilderness-covered islands.”
- Perak, Malaysia. “…cheerful joints like Roquette Cafe, Burps & Giggles and Bits & Bobs pull a vibrant crowd…”
- The Skellig Ring, Ireland. “Perhaps Ireland’s most charismatically wild and emerald stretch of coastline…” Tourism Ireland is already busy promoting it!
Written by Peter Needham