From emerging destinations and countries on the rebound to places where global events are making it more exciting to visit, the experts at G Adventures say they crunched the data and coupled it with travel trends to forecast the 12 hottest spots to visit in 2020.
Founder Bruce Poon Tip says that as well as highlighting some lesser known gems, this year's list spotlights a number of destinations where tourism can be a force for good for local people in the communities travellers visit.
“In a world that's becoming increasingly divided, travel can be a vehicle and force for good to unite us as a global community. As pioneers of community tourism, our mission is to change people's lives through travel, going beyond the lives of our travellers to the locals we visit, particularly people who are marginalized. When we return from a transformative travel experience, we can then bring back what we learn to make a difference in our own communities, that’s what we call the ripple effect,” says Poon Tip.
G Adventures’ top 12 trips for 2020:
NEPAL - Travellers experiencing a mindful trip in the peaceful home of Buddha next year will find it hard to recall that 2020 marks five years since the April 2015 earthquake hit. The country has been busy rebuilding and G Adventures has experienced a 90% increase in travellers since 2017. For 2020 G is offering a new Wellness Nepal tour which immerses travellers in local culture while they enjoy a blissful introduction to this place and its people. Priced from $3,119pp* for a 13-day trip from Kathmandu return.
GEORGIA - It’s safe to say Georgian food and wine are both having a moment with the media spotlight highlighting delicacies such as khinkali (soup dumplings) and the country’s traditional winemaking process. G Adventures seen a 44% increase in travellers to Georgia over the past three years. New budget flight routes through Europe will also help open up this emerging destination. An eight-day Best of Georgia & Armenia trip is priced from $1,999pp, travelling from Yerevan, Armenia to Tbilisi, Georgia.
MADAGASCAR - This gem off the coast of southern Africa is attracting more adventurous travellers with a 33% increase for G Adventures in the past three years. This has led the company to expand into Northern Madagascar for 2020, where travellers can spend time on ‘lemur island’ aka Nosy Be. There’s also a new Planeterra community tourism project - G Adventures non-profit partner - which aids reforestation of the habitat around Ranohira for native species, such as the endangered lemurs. An eight-day Northern Madagascar Explorer trip is priced from $1,699pp travelling from Antsiranana to Nosy Be.
SRI LANKA - After a meteoric rise to become 2019's hottest travel destination with its kind people, rich culture and stunning shoreline, G says Sri Lanka’s tourism was heavily impacted following the Easter attacks last April. According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, arrivals fell 71% in May. With all foreign advisories lifted, now is the perfect time for travellers to return to experience all Sri Lanka has to offer. To help support this return, the government is offering a free visa on arrival for travellers from 48 countries. A 14-day Sri Lanka Encompassed trip is priced from $2,127pp travelling from Colombo to Mirissa.
IRELAND - Galway has been named as a European Capital of Culture for 2020, and G Adventures has a new National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures Iconic Ireland trip for those wanting to join the craic. Priced from $3,599pp for a nine-day trip from Dublin return.
NICARAGUA - With its beautiful beaches, world-class surf and stunning classic colonial architecture, Nicaragua is firmly back on its feet to welcome tourists following a period of unrest, making this the perfect time to visit. G Adventures returns in November, just in time for the dry season. The Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism reports that during 2018 tourist numbers dropped 28% but now calm has returned the locals are hopeful the tourists will follow. A 32-day 18-to-Thirtysomethings Central American Journey is priced from $2,775pp travelling from Playa del Carmen, Mexico, to San Jose, Costa Rica.
BRAZIL - With a 10% increase in G Adventures travellers in the past year, Brazil appears to be firmly back on traveller’s hotlists. Rio de Janeiro has been named the World Capital of Architecture for 2020 by UNESCO, and G Adventures has a new National Geographic Journeys Explore Brazil trip launching next year. Priced from $3,999pp for a nine-day trip from Rio de Janeiro return.
SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES - Travellers looking for an Instagrammable Caribbean holiday with few tourists to photobomb their pictures need look no further. On G Adventures’ new sailing trip cruising the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, travellers will sail from hidden coves to secluded beaches in a comfortable catamaran, with time for snorkelling some of the Caribbean's best sites and indulging in tasty local Creole cuisine. Priced from $1,999pp for an eight-day Sailing Saint Lucia & The Grenadines trip from Rodney Bay return.
LAOS - Often overlooked on a Southeast Asia adventure, travellers on this G Adventures trip will arrive into this small country by boat, sailing the Mekong into the heart and soul of Laos. According to the Ministry of Tourism, traveller numbers to Laos for the first half of 2019 increased 5% compared to the same time last year, and to encourage more tourism, as of JUN 2019 all international visitors to Laos are eligible to apply online for a single entry visa for a maximum stay of 30 days. A Classic Thailand and Laos Adventure is priced from $1,674pp for a 14-day trip from Bangkok to Hanoi.
JAPAN - Appearing for a second year, Japan is on roll. Hot on the heels of hosting the Rugby World Cup this year, 2020 has the Japanese keeping busy hosting the Summer Olympics. G Adventures travellers to the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ have been steadily increasing with an additional 23% growth in the past year. With the launch of its new National Geographic Family Journeys program, G Adventures is extending experiences to include children aged seven and up. A Japan Family Journey tour is priced from $6,849 per adult and $6,579 per child for an 11-day trip from Tokyo return.
SOUTH AFRICA - It’ll be 30 years next year since Nelson Mandela was released from prison, and G Adventures has been experiencing double-digit growth in South Africa for the past few years. A new Planeterra project has been launched to help educate travellers about the Indigenous San culture. G Adventures is also launching a new National Geographic Family Journeys trip, the Southern Africa Family Journey, priced from $5,149 per adult and $4,879 per child for an 11-day trip from Cape Town to Victoria Falls.
GREENLAND - Greenland hit the headlines earlier this year with search results doubling after President Trump claimed he wanted to buy it. See what attracted him to this pristine piece of the world aboard the G Expedition ship, as it traverses Greenland’s coast. A 15-day Arctic Highlights voyage from Longyearbyen to Reykjavík is priced from $9,999pp.