The United Nations World Tourism Organisation released their stats for international travel for the first half of this year and it turns out that wow we bloody love to travel.
According to the stats, around 369 million of us went on an overseas trip in the first few months of this year, which is a boost of around 21 million from last year. Huge.
The report might have come out last month, but we wanted to know why these places are going gangbusters with international visitors.
The list of places include popular spots like Iceland and Egypt, and some new up and comers like Mongolia, Israel, and Nicaragua gaining serious popularity.
So what is making these places so damn popular for our holiday destinations? We had a bit of a go at figuring that one out.
Surely this one is easy. Game of Thrones. The super popular HBO series is shot a lot on location in Iceland, and the area of Skaftafell is where they filmed a bunch of the scenes beyond The Wall (like in that episode we saw this week.)
Also Jorah and Jon Snow were spotted at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, which absolutely makes sense now.
These territories are made up of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and have been a point of tension and dispute between Palestine and Israel since Israel occupied them during the Six-Day War in 1967.
The Palestinian Territories are some of the most dangerous places in the world, but that doesn’t seem to stop travellers. Perhaps it’s the feeling of immediate danger when you’re there and the spike in tourists are all adrenaline junkies.
Despite the recent unrest and issues with travelling to and from Egypt, we’re still wildly keen to get into the country. Considering Cairo has the stunning backdrop of the Pyramids of Giza, it’s impossible to stop us from heading over to the world wonders.
Also can’t stop us from trying to pinch the tip of the pyramids.
Oh, you tried.
Northern Mariana Islands
Ok this one pretty much speaks for itself. It’s stunning. These islands are like the perfect image of paradise, so I’ll let the pictures do all the talking.
Also Marianas Trench is just off the coast, which holds all the mysteries of the deep ocean, like mermaids and pirate booty (I assume).
Another place that exists with regular tensions and attacks on popular tourist spots, Tunisia is a place where your travel insurance is pretty much null and void.
That being said, Sidi Bou Saïd is a gorgeous part of the country, and extremely Instagrammable with its blue and white vibes, so I can understand the allure of Tunisia.
A crowd fave, Vietnam is rich in turbulent history, religion, uprising, and bloody gorgeous people. Visiting over Tet (Vietnamese New Year) is incredible – it’s the only time of year you won’t find millions of scooters on the cities’ roads. Vietnam, it rules. Just one girl’s opinion.
Also Tan Dinh Church is a beaut shade of pink and is clearly a very popular spot to snap photos.
Uruguay is pretty damn picturesque, with some real nice architecture like pastel blue churches and Casapueblo in Punta Ballena. The capital, Montevideo, is right on the water and just up the coast is Punta del Este, where there’s a giant fuckin’ hand sculpture sticking out of the sand.
This place is chockas full of awesome volcanic activity, and the capital Granada is home to a bunch of brightly-coloured buildings. I’m guessing it’s the perfect crossover for the little Venn diagram of all the volcano and architecture nerds out there that are making Nicaragua’s tourism go nuts.
This one is surely for those adventurer travellers among us. Mongolia is rugged and is a hot spot for folks who love hiking and – those who want to cram as much adventure into a holiday as humanly possible.
It’s a vast, expansive country with breathtaking views and intricate temples set into the mountains. Is it on my bucket list? Absolutely.
Similar to the Palestine Territories, Israel has a tumultuous past, but does not hold as much of a travel warning as Gaza Strip or West Bank.
The capital, Tel Aviv, is like a big oasis in the desert – full of lush greenery, culture, and good food.
Israel is also home to the Dead Sea and who doesn’t wanna float on top of the water like nowhere else in the world?
So I guess you better hot foot it to these spots before they get too trendy, folks.
You have been warned.