France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom are among the world’s most frequented vacation hubs, with France taking the global crown with a staggering 86.9 million international tourist arrivals annually. But these popular places can only stand to grow so much year over year.
This leaves such lesser-known destinations as the Republic of Moldova to jump farther faster. In 2017, for instance, French tourism grew by 5.1 percent. Its landlocked competitor, nestled between Ukraine and Romania, saw a visitation spike of 19.6 percent when it welcomed 145,000 visitors last year, say data from the UN World Tourism Organization.
Another benefit, he says, is accessibility.
“Off-the-beaten-path travel is more comfortable in Europe, where English is more commonly spoken,” Chang says. “And while it might take time for a place like Moldova to develop as a stand-alone destination, it’s easy for people to tack short explorations of these countries onto their existing itineraries.”
For the well-traveled Europhile, and those whose destinations stretch beyond Western Europe to include countries in Central Asia and the Middle East, these are the top 10 places to go next. They’re ranked by year-on-year growth.
On 9thplace is Bosnia and Herzegovina — 18.66 percent:
“Croatia and Montenegro have long been popular destinations for us, but this year we’ve seen demand for experiences in Slovenia and Bosnia increase,” said Tom Marchant, co-founder of luxury travel outfit Black Tomato. As Croatia deals with extreme over-tourism (it notched a record 15 million arrivals last year), the remaining Balkan locales are emerging as a fascinating, crowd-free alternative. Bosnia and Herzegovina is leading the pack, with its 16th century mosques, Ottoman architecture and vibrant street art scene. Many travelers take day or weekend trips to scenic Mostar, a quick way to scratch the surface. But it’s also possible to dedicate a whole vacation to this historically rich country, including the diverse capital of Sarajevo, the towering waterfalls at Kravica and the mountain village of Lukomir, said to be the country’s most isolated enclave,” the Gazette reports.