The World’s Fastest Growing Travel Destinations

Even with all the global gloom, tourism still managed to increase 5% in 2015 from the previous year, this means there’s now a huge 1.186 billion international tourist arrivals worldwide.

Many people choose to stick to the status quo and simply visit the same place year-on-year, have you ever wondered what else might be out there? For an adventurer like me, I can’t wait to go somewhere new each year, especially if it means I beat a burgeoning tourism boom at an up and coming destination.

Just where are the world’s fastest growing travel destinations according to the United Nations World Travel Organisation (UNWTO)? Lets take a look…

Paraguay - officially the fastest growing destination for tourist arrivals in the world in terms of percentage growth
Paraguay – officially the fastest growing destination for tourist arrivals in the world in terms of percentage growth

1. Paraguay

+97% to 1.28m International tourist arrivals

The fastest growing destination in terms of percentage increase is…Paraguay! Where I hear you ask? Well this country is squashed between the South American heavyweights Brazil and Argentina and has mostly been ignored on the world tourism map. However, that now appears to be changing and with an increase in arrivals hoping to see beautiful rivers, subtropical forests and even swamplands, will it convince you to visit any time soon?

2. Tajikistan

+94% to 414,000 International tourist arrivals

3. Niue

+62.9% to 10,000 International tourist arrivals

4. Japan

+47.5% to 20m International tourist arrivals

Jökulsárlón looks amazing in winter or summer!
Jökulsárlón in Iceland looks amazing in winter or summer!

5. Iceland

+29.8% to 1.3m International tourist arrivals

It is safe to say Iceland is my favourite country in Europe, completely unique, incredible food, warm and welcoming locals and when I visited in 2010 I was even happy to accept the cold because it meant I got to experience the incredible Aurora Borealis (Northern lights). What more could you want?!

Discover why Iceland is my favourite European destination, click here.

Beautiful Bosnia
Beautiful Bosnia

6. Bosnia and Herzegovina

+28.2% to 687,000 International tourist arrivals

When you mention the word Bosnia you instantly think of the war that gripped this country in the 1990’s, however times have changed and tourism is booming. Sarajevo doesn’t usually list highly on many must-see lists but this is an incredible shame, it’s a unique tourist destination that’s surrounded by pristine forests. You can even explore the abandoned site of the 1984 Winter Olympics if you’re into dark tourism.

Find out why Bosnia and Herzegovina is Europe’s hidden gem, click here.

7. Panama

+22.4% to 2.13m International tourist arrivals

Peaceful and tranquil: Thailand
Peaceful and tranquil: Thailand

8. Thailand

+22.3% to 30.3m International tourist arrivals

There’s something magical about Thailand, the people are incredibly warm and welcoming, the tasty and cheap food makes it an affordable trip and the wonderful scenery tends to draw tourists back year-on-year. Sadly I only made it to Bangkok on my trip in 2009, although I did venture to Kanchanaburi and Ayutthaya outside of the city but I’m certain I’ll be tempted back at some point to discover more.

9. Chile

+20.4% to 4.5m International tourist arrivals

10. Palau

+19.2% to 168,000 International tourist arrivals

11. Hungary

+19.1% to 14.5m International tourist arrivals

12. Seychelles

+18.7% to 318,000 International tourist arrivals

I loved my trip to Sri Lanka in 2011!
I loved my trip to Sri Lanka in 2011!

13. Sri Lanka

+17.8% to 2.12m International tourist arrivals

With its giant neighbour to the north and west of Sri Lanka it is no wonder many people describe the country as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”, it is hugely different and for such a small island it certainly packs in the places to see.

From tea plantations to luxury beach resorts you’ll find everything you need here, click here to see why your next holiday should be to Sri Lanka.

I *heart* Cuba!
I *heart* Cuba!

14. Cuba

+17.3% to 3.48m International tourist arrivals

Did someone say Mojito? I’m right there! I visited Cuba in 2015, mostly to beat the “change” due to immigration rules enabling U.S citizens to visit freely. What I discovered was a truly beautiful island full of charm, warmth and individualism. My advice is don’t just visit the resorts of Varadero, go off-the-beaten track and stay at a home-stay in somewhere like Trinidad, trust me you won’t regret it.

Not sure whether now is the right time to visit Cuba? Check out my advice here.

15. Colombia

+17.2% to 3m International tourist arrivals

16. Oman

+17% to 1.78m International tourist arrivals

Parliament Palace, Romania
Parliament Palace, Romania

17. Romania

+16.9% to 2.24m International tourist arrivals

Last but definitely not least in the fastest growing tourist destinations is Romania, they experienced a huge increase in the number of tourist arrivals in 2015 and that trend is set to continue.

With tales of Dracula in Brasov and the natural beauty of the Carpathian Mountains, you certainly won’t be bored in Romania.

What should you see in one of Europe’s cheapest countries? Click here to find out.

Further Information

If you’d like to discover more photographs and information from any of my trips please feel free to ask me any questions. You can visit my Facebook page and please don’t forget to ‘Like’ Travel Geek UK.

2 thoughts on “The World’s Fastest Growing Travel Destinations

  1. Great list! I most recommend Iceland to be the top of your list. Been there last year, it truly is the most otherworldly place that I have seen. I hope to go back soon.

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