• National Geographic Travel and Frommer’s name best destinations to visit in 2017

    Ramesh Tiwari
    December 15, 2016
    National Geographic Travel and Frommer’s name best destinations to visit in 2017

    Paris ( AFP ) : From the wintry fairylands of Russia and old Quebec City, to sun-soaked escapades in Tonga and Sri Lanka, National Geographic Travel has curated a list of the best winter trips of 2017.

    On their list of top 10 places to visit this season, editors go beyond perennial favorites such as Florida and the ski slopes of Vail or Whistler Blackcomb to offer up travel ideas that include the beaches of Sri Lanka and the budget-friendly ski hills of Bulgaria.

    If you’re looking for some travel ideas this winter, consider some of these destinations recommended by the experts at Nat Geo Travel:

    Quebec City for holiday cheer

    With fairy lights adorning every doorway and tree, old cobblestone streets and Chateau Frontenac looming large at every turn, Quebec City whisks visitors to the bygone era of Dickensian Christmases of the old world. The city also hosts the largest winter carnival of its kind in the world, which this year takes place January 27 to February 12.

    St. Petersburg, Russia for winter lovers

    The city’s architecture is stunning to begin with, but add a layer of soft powdery snow to the peaks of the ornate Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, the Winter Palace and the Hermitage and the city transforms into a living fairy tale, frozen in time. “Add ice on the Neva River (and on dozens of smaller frozen rivers and canals), and the winter scene is downright magical.”

    Bansko, Bulgari for sport aficionados

    Skiers on tight budgets will want to consider the slopes of Bansko, Bulgaria, one of the best bargain winter sports destinations in Europe. But don’t expect black diamond runs or the glitz of Zermatt, caution editors, as the budget-friendly option is a no-frills, low-cost experience.

    Galle, Sri Lanka for the warm weather

    The Dutch colonial town of Galle in Sri Lanka may not be top of mind for beach goers, but the palm-fringed town on the Indian Ocean makes for an ideal base for surf and sand day trips, point out Nat Geo Travel editors.

    Tucson, Arizona for food

    While Arizona may be known for its golf, spas and resorts, according to Nat Geo Travel the popular winter tourist destination is also a hotbed of good, cheap, local eats. Think Sonoran dog, a bacon-wrapped hot dog stuffed in a roll and smothered in pinto beans, salsa, onions, tomatoes, mayonnaise and mustard. Travelers on a budget will eat well if they like Mexican fare, with no shortage of taquerias and diner fare.

    Tonga for the adventure

    Located between Fiji and New Zealand, the island of Tonga is expensive to reach for US travelers, but cheap to explore. Adventure seekers looking to escape civilization can look forward to jumping off shipwrecks, swimming in an underground lake and discovering pristine beaches and coral atolls.

    Frommer’s releases picks for the best destinations to visit in 2017

    Travel experts at Frommer’s have released their picks for the top destinations to visit in 2017, a list of 17 honorees singled out for enjoying a booming resurgence, for becoming an emerging destination or for marking a milestone anniversary.

    The list highlights 17 destinations around the world that span North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Here’s a look at some of the places that made the Frommer’s honor roll for 2017.  

    Montreal, Quebec

    While Canada fetes its 150th anniversary next year, 2017 will also mark Montreal’s 375th birthday, in what’s sure to make the city “party central” for much of the year, says Frommer’s. A total of 175 events are planned over the next 12 months, including multimedia light shows and the premiere of a new opera based on music from Pink Floyd called “Another Brick in the Wall.”

    Nashville, Tennessee

    Editors at Frommer’s point to the city’s dynamic dining landscape, legendary music scene and college town vibes for inspiring an estimated 85 people to move to the city a day. Visitors will also want to bookmark August 21 on their calendar, when the city becomes the only US city in direct viewing line for the solar eclipse.

    Paris, France

    In the aftermath of the terror attacks that besieged the city in 2015, the crowds have thinned, making traditionally one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world far less crowded. In fact, with hotel occupancy rates down 30 percent and a competitive currency exchange between the euro and the US dollar, “Paris is suddenly affordable” and its high temples of gastronomy no longer merely pipe dreams.

    Sulawesi, Indonesia

    Indonesia is not just Bali. For travelers who’ve already done Bali and bought the T-shirt to prove it, editors recommend checking out the island of Sulawesi, home to verdant rice paddies, mountains, beaches and forests that hold the world’s smallest monkeys.

    Karasjok, Norway

    The year 2017 is predicted to be the peak of an 11-year cycle for Northern Lights watching. And for the best view of the celestial light show, editors recommend hitting up Karasjok in Norway, an area that’s void of light pollution and offers a higher chance of clear skies thanks to its inland location.

    Doha, Qatar

    Long overshadowed by its flashier neighbors Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Doha is hoping to squeeze into the Middle East’s tourism market with expansion projects that will improve city infrastructure, bring a state-of-the-art subway system to the city and build new bridges. At least 14 new hotels are expected to open in 2017 alone. Aside from Pearl Qatar, the artificial island that houses luxury hotels, residences and retail spaces, the city is also working to become a cultural destination, with the Museum of Islamic Art, opera house and Souk Waqif, a traditional marketplace.

    The other destinations to make the list include San Francisco and the Bay area; Bermuda; The Pantanal; The Mississippi River; The Panama Canal; Nan Madol, Micronesia; Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda; Martin Luther’s Germany; Katahdin Woods and Waters, Maine; Fatima, Portugal and Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada.

    Dec. 15 , 2016

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      News Brief

      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:
      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

      Wildlife in Chitawan , Nepal

      Window of Nepal Tourism