• Top 10 best travel destinations for 2018 : Lonely Planet

    Ramesh Tiwari
    October 29, 2017
    Top 10 best travel destinations for 2018 : Lonely Planet

    TravelBizNews–

    Melbourne: The world’s leading travel guide book publisher – Lonely Planet has revealed its selection of the top ten countries, cities, regions and best value destinations for the year 2018.

    Chile takes the top spot of the best country for travelers in 2018, according to Lonely Planet. The other countries include South Korea, Portugal , Djibouti , New Zealand , Malta , Georgia ,Mauritius , China and South Africa .

    Lonely Planet writes –

    1. Chile is a sinewy sliver of a nation, isolated from the rest of South America (and indeed the world) by the soaring Andes to the east, the vast Pacific Ocean to the west, the bone-dry Atacama Desert up north and the impenetrable wilds of Patagonia down south. From its disparate extremes to the ever-trendier capital of Santiago at its heart, the country’s citizens will unite in 2018 to mark 200 years of independence. Thanks to new non-stop flights from both London and Melbourne, it’s never been easier to catch a plane, raise a glass of pisco sour and toast the celebration.

    2. South Korea is a compact playground of Asian modernity. High-rises soar in the futuristic capital city, Seoul, which in 2017 received a huge facelift with the opening of its new Seoul-lo 7017, a high-line park with cafes, bars and libraries along a disused elevated highway. South Korea has embraced its hosting of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and a new high-speed railway line will whisk travellers across the country to the Games. So don your hats and gloves to cheer on the best and brightest as they swoosh their way to glory. Or wait until it warms up and experience mountainous delights followed by steamy urban nightlife.

    3. Portugal l has emerged from the long shadow cast by neighbouring Spain, seizing the spotlight as a dynamic centre for art, culture and cuisine. A spate of artfully designed museums have opened in the past two years, there’s now a celebrated microbrewery scene, and rock-star Portuguese chefs are creating culinary buzz from Lisbon to the glittering beaches of the Algarve (seven new restaurants received Michelin stars in 2017). Heightening Portugal’s appeal are its incredible affordability and its natural wonders: in 2016, more than 300 beaches earned the coveted Blue Flag rating and two new biosphere reserves were named. It’s no surprise everyone is talking about this small, seafaring nation.

    4. Djibouti = Positioned for dramatic effect, the petite nation of Djibouti is in the process of being ripped in three by diverging tectonic plates. Magma seethes beneath ever-thinning crust; Martian-like deserts spew steam from fumaroles; and sunken lake shores glisten with huge salt crystals. In geological terms, this is a sprint finish. But in human terms, this is spectacularly slow motion – a reason to make travel plans, not cancel them! Add intoxicating culture, beckoning beaches and incredible whale shark diving, and you have even more reasons to hop on a plane, or ride the brand new train, to witness Mother Nature at her brutal best in 2018.

    5. New Zealand – Twenty-five years ago, long before it was retrofitted to resemble Middle-earth, New Zealand began actively attracting adventure-seekers. A sweet suite of trails, the Great Walks, encouraged exploration of the country’s exquisite topography, taking tramping travellers through some of the world’s most extraordinary wilderness. Now, for the first time since the nine-track network was launched, a new Great Walk is under construction. The Paparoa Track and Pike29 Memorial Track, which commemorates the 29 miners killed in 2010, will form a magnificent multi-day trail through the South Island’s wild and wonderful west coast. Hikers can get a taster of the walk’s dramatic scenery on four existing trails.

    6. Malta =The long history of this Mediterranean archipelago is vividly evident. Prehistoric temples crown hills, 17th-century fortifications stalk the coast, and a warren of tunnels – from catacombs to air-raid shelters – dig deep underground. Its riches have been here for centuries, if not millennia, but Malta is experiencing a moment. This tiny nation’s buzz has been building to a crescendo in preparation for Valletta’s stint as European Capital of Culture for 2018. Expect baroque, pop and international film festivals, plus a contemporary art biennial. Not to mention a laid-back lifestyle born out of proximity to warm sea, beaches and more than 300 annual days of sunshine.

    7. Georgia =At this crossroads of the South Caucasus, history is not a thing of the past but informs every complex chess move Georgia makes in the present. Forward-thinking but proud of tradition, this is a country of ancient recipes cooked up in tucked-away taverns where toastmasters raise glasses of spirits to honour heroes old and new. It’s so proud of its wine region that airport immigration officials often welcome travellers with a bottle of red along with their stamped passports. One hundred years ago, Georgia was declared an independent state in the wake of the Russian Revolution: just one of many reasons to raise a glass to toast 2018.

    8. Mauritius =This brochure-perfect island idyll is justly famous for its dazzling sapphire seas and luxurious beach resorts, where the watery fun includes coral reef dives, kitesurfing, sea kayaking and lagoon cruises. During the colonial days, Mauritius was known as the ‘Star and Key of the Indian Ocean’ for its strategic position. These days there’s much afoot in the deep blue sky, with the government establishing the island as a hub for flights to mainland Africa. New connections to Mauritius include Air Mauritius and KLM’s service from Amsterdam. Past glories are also getting a spotlight in 2018, when the island celebrates 50 years of independence.

    9. China -The world’s most populous country is big, beautiful and full of mystery and adventure. Since 2016, China has opened extensive new high-speed rail tracks, creating the largest HSR network on Earth. Běijīng’s imperial palace – the Forbidden City – has been upgraded in the past few years, and four previously restricted halls are now open to the public. Gargantuan Shanghai Tower welcomes visitors to the world’s highest observation deck, and in late 2017, cultural hub Design Society opened in the cosmopolitan city of Shenzhen, featuring a partnership gallery with London’s V&A Museum. Twenty-first century China is here to stay, so hop on board a bullet train and explore this modern Middle Kingdom.

    10. South Africa – Beaches and mountains, wildlife and wine, and let’s not forget vibrant culture and cosmopolitan Cape Town – South Africa has long been one of the world’s most alluring countries. This year the country’s many attractions will be bolstered by ‘Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018: Be the Legacy’, an official programme of events – some sporting, some educational, others devoted to the arts – aimed at honouring the legendary leader. The theme is to inspire values-based societies, with exhibitions related to transparency, service, respect, passion and integrity. So with more to see than ever, and favourable exchange rates offering great value, 2018 is a phenomenal year to visit South Africa.

    Source : Lonely Planet Oct. 2017

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      Kabul: Afghan security forces have regained control of Intercontinental Hotel, hours after the gunmen burst into the hotel shooting at guests and staff. At least five civilians were killed and six were injured in the siege. Three of the attackers have been killed and more than 150 guests were rescued. No group has said it carried out the attack, but the Taliban targeted the Intercontinental hotel in 2011.

      Beijing: China’s economy grew by 6.9% in 2017 according to official data – the first time in seven years the pace of growth has picked up. The figure beats Beijing’s official annual expansion target of about 6.5%. Gross domestic product (GDP) totaled 82.71 trillion yuan (about 12.84 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2017, with the service sector accounting for more than half of the total.

      Shanghai: China Eastern Airlines and other domestic airlines have begun to allow mobile phone use on their aircraft or announced plans to lift a ban. China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines began to allow passengers to use portable electronic devices (PED), such as smartphones and tablets.China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines announced they would allow mobile phone use on all their flights this week. – Agencies

      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
      October 1 : Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas music festival killing 59 people
      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
      October 24 : China confirms the elevation of President Xi Jinping to the same status as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, by enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the party’s constitution at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
      November 24 : Gunmen kill hundreds at Sinai mosque in Egypt
      December 4 : Houthi militants assassinate Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
      December 5 : Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for state-sponsored doping
      December 6 : US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
      December 17 : Price of one bitcoin reaches a new high of $19,783.06 dollars
      December 21 : Yemen’s cholera outbreak
      December 22 : Syria peace talks in Astana (compiled)

      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      CityVisitors
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

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