From destinations on the rebound, to places where events and investments are making it more exciting or accessible to visit, the adventure pros at G Adventures have been combing through their list of trip destinations to forecast the hot spots and new spots for adventure in 2018.
The result is a mix of destinations that blend some of the tourism industry’s perennial favourites, with up-and-coming contenders for the all-valuable tourist dollar.
Aizaz Sheikh, Canadian marketing director for G Adventures, commented, “We looked at factors such as trending sales data, operational improvements, new flight routes, social buzz and upcoming events around the globe to develop this look-ahead for adventure seekers in 2018.”
He added, “Some of it is gut instinct. Adventure, after all, is about putting yourself out there.”
2018 is poised to be an exciting year for Egypt as its new Grand Egyptian Museum prepares to open in late 2018 as the world’s largest archaeological museum. The attraction will host treasures from King Tut’s unearthed tomb and is expected to be a significant lure that should contribute to Egypt’s tourism comeback. It’s tourism revenues jumped by 170% in the first half of 2017 to $3.5 billion, while G Adventures bookings to the country also grew some 24%.
See it before the crowds return on one of the company’s 2018 tours, which range from eight days and $764 on an Egypt Shoestring tour for younger travellers, to 12 days and $2,799 for an Egypt Upgraded trip. New for 2018 – a 22-day Best of Egypt, Jordan and Israel itinerary for $7,399.
2017 was a record-breaking year for Portugal (pictured) as travellers went in search of destinations with fewer crowds, good food and travel security and Portugal has emerged from Spain’s neighbouring shadow. Tourism from North America is growing fast and showing no signs of slowing.
G Adventures has added a new seven-day itinerary for 2018, dedicated to the sights, sounds and tastes of Portugal. Highlights of Portugal tours start at $1,399 per person and begin departures in April 2018.
- SRI LANKA
Dubbed the “pearl of the Indian Ocean,” Sri Lanka is aiming to double the number of tourists to five million by 2020 as part of its development strategy and efforts are paying off. Earnings from tourism increased to $2.1 million during the first half of 2017. G Adventures is driving some of that increased interest, with a tripling of global demand for trips booked to Sri Lanka in the past year.
Its new seven-day Sri Lanka Sailing trip for $1,699 embarks in February, making it a novel and exotic winter escape that can also be combined with a land-based itinerary to create a 14-day Sri Lanka Land and Sea getaway for $3,110.
A high-profile, 12-year peace treaty, a Nobel Peace Prize for its President, and national investments in marketing the country overseas have all combined to boost the Pacific-Caribbean country’s reputation as a great place to vacation. Meantime the Colombian government more than doubled the area officially designated as protected since 2010 to encourage adventure travel and ecotourism.
G Adventures’ bookings to Colombia soared 232% during the past two years, and early-2018 will see the company launch a new exit trek on the still relatively unknown Lost City trail with the indigenous Wiwa people. Go there for $799 for a fitness-challenging seven-day Lost City Trekking trip.
Between investments from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to help travellers Discover Kyrgyzstan, and a concerted push from the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), the Central Asian country known for its warm, welcoming people, yurt life and spectacular mountainscapes is finally coming into the spotlight. 2018 will see Kyrgyzstan host 40 nations in the biennial World Nomad Games to compete in eagle hunting, stick wrestling and horseback battles – events that locals say Genghis Kahn would have enjoyed.
See modern nomadic culture on full display through a nine-day tour or 14-day tour with G Adventures, from $1,199 to $2,599.
Foreign tourist arrivals to the North African country rose more than 13% during the first eight months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, bringing eight million visitors from around the globe, helping Morocco’s GDP climb an impressive 5%.
G Adventures offers 10 different itineraries to Morocco, including Active tours, National Geographic Journeys tours, and budget-minded trips for 18-to-Thirtysomethings. They range from eight to 15 days in length and $790 to $3,099 per person.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority is granting $3.5 million to local community tourism and conservation groups in 2018 to promote the Pacific Island state’s cultural and natural heritage and set the islands up as leaders in sustainable tourism. Visitor spending here is well on the rise too, thanks to Hawaii’s top customer markets: Canada, US and Japan. In the first half of 2017 travellers spent a whopping $8.4 billion in the Hawaiian Islands, up nearly 9% compared to 2016.
G Adventures offers travellers the chance to explore Hawaii’s Big Island, Maui, Oahu and Kauai on new trips that are ideal for people looking for more adventurous, cultural experiences beyond big bus tours and resorts. Its three new itineraries range from eight to 15 days and from $3,599 to $7,499.
- SOUTH AFRICA
The southern tip of the African continent is fast becoming a destination darling for adventurous and upscale Canadian travellers alike, thanks in part to South Africa Tourisms campaign to attract five million additional visitors in the next five years. In 2018, the country will celebrate the centenary year of Nelson Mandela’s 1918 birth.
G Adventures has increased its itineraries and departures for 2018 to keep pace with growing demand. See the country that Lonely Planet also calls one of top 10 countries to visit in 2018 on one of 33 different tours ranging from seven to 30 days in length, including the new 21-day Great Southern Africa Safari.
With its new $150 million, 119-mile Tupiza-Atocha-Uyuni highway set to open in mid-2018 and connect the Eastern and Western ranges of the Bolivian Andes, travel to and from the country’s famed salt flats will become more accessible. The South American country has also been earning some high-profile headlines in recent months, thanks in part to the new Daniel Radcliffe film Jungle, based in Bolivia and adapted from a real-life memoir by Israeli adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg.
G Adventures and its Planeterra Foundation partners are bringing their social enterprise model to an 11-day Bolivia Discovery tour in the country, with guest stays at the Jukil Community salt lodge in Santiago de Agencha and local living experiences to learn about indigenous culture and traditional quinoa production.
Rounding out its top 10 destinations for adventure in 2018 is the “Switzerland of the Middle East.” Oman announced plans to extend tourist visas for up to one month vs. three weeks for 2018 and its government is working to support more women entrepreneurs in tourism.
G Adventures added Oman to its lineup for 2018, after seeing an increase in demand for trips to the Middle East in recent years, and 36% growth in bookings to the region between 2016 and 2017. Its new Highlights of Oman tour runs eight days at $2,799, with departures starting in September.