Not everyone wants to visit heavily trafficked locales on vacations, bumping shoulders with thousands of other travelers to visit crowded tourist spots. If you are looking for some unique experiences, here are some of the world’s least visited countries for your next adventure.
*The annual figures are for 2016 and taken from United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) 2017 Tourism Highlights. Click here for the full report. Check your government’s advisory before planning to travel.
Brunei (219,000 visitors)
With some of the finest Islamic architecture in the world, the Asian country is known for its lively mosques, the grand palace and lush rainforests.
Bhutan (210,000 visitors)
The Buddhist nation is equally well-known for its happy inhabitants and its stunning hiking trails that go through verdant hills, tumbling rivers and towering mountains.
Eritrea (142,000 visitors)
The country in Horn of Africa has a rich heritage and wows visitors with its Red Sea coast and capital Asmara, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Center due to its architecture.
Republic of Moldova (121,000 visitors)
The former Soviet nation is home to Mileștii Mici, a commune with some of the biggest wine cellars in the world.
If your new year’s resolution is to travel, you might want to follow in the tracks of Sal Lavallo, who at 27 is one of the youngest Americans to have visited all 193 U.N. member states. During his explorations, which were partially underwritten by Marriott International, he found that obscure destinations were the most memorable, and he shared many on his Instagram feed, @sallavallo. He recalls some favorites with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY. But before booking a trip, check U.S. State Department warnings because some destinations are near trouble spots.
This oil-rich capital city has invested billions in culture and modern architecture, making for a surprising stop in the Caucasus. “Walking around the city is like an open-air museum. They have these ancient ruins and in the background are modern buildings,” Lavallo says.
Africa is known for her extreme poverty and malnutrition. However, when you flip the coin and look at the continent’s obesity index, you are met with some disturbing data. For instance, Libya is the 20th most obese country in the world at 33.10%, followed by Egypt at 28.9%, Tunisia at 27.10%, and South Africa at 26.8%.
The number of people who die each year for being overweight or obese is 4.5 million, which is higher than underweight deaths. Economically, obesity uses up to US $ 117.7 million globally every year. In many countries, cities have the most populations; therefore, they have more overweight cases than rural areas because of advanced technologies, office jobs, and paved roads with a significant number of vehicles and fast food franchises. As the cases of global obesity escalate, we took time to sample the top ten healthiest cities in Africa.
With Asmara being registered in the UNESCO World Heritage List, the attention invested in the city is growing by the day. The administration of the city, professionals of all fields from Eritrea and abroad, journalists, historians, architects, artists and tourists are opening their eyes to see what this historic city is all about.
Normally, we see monuments and specific places being enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage List but in the case of Asmara it is the city with its thousands of buildings, roads, monuments and the intangible heritage, the Asmarino’s culture.
A question arises now on how to preserve and maintain the city. Professionals are being put in place to restore the beauty of Asmara in its most natural and original essence.
Italian architects used what had been an amalgamation of highland villages centuries earlier as an ‘ideal blank canvas’.
In an often-forgotten corner of the Horn of Africa, Eritrea’s capital boasts one of the world’s finest collections of early 20th-century architecture – with UNESCO awarding it World Heritage Site status earlier this year
When Italy’s colonial experiment in Eritrea ended in 1941, it left behind an array of Rationalist, Futurist, Art Deco and other Modernist styles in Asmara, a city whose historic heart has changed little since the Italians lived and worked there.
In following decades, conflict ravaged Eritrea, leaving the nation isolated and stifling development. But the violence bypassed the city, and the capital has never been swallowed by the kind of exapnsion that raced ahead elsewhere in Africa.
It’s hard not to question why Asmara was named a World Heritage Site, especially as the country is reeling from decades of hardship.
Asmara is itself a giant monument to colonial folly. When it comes to architecture, the Italians simply lost their heads.
—Michela Wrong, I Didn’t Do It for You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation
In early July 2017, Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hundreds of modernist buildings in the historic city center, built between 1935 and 1941 under Italian colonial rule, made it onto this prestigious list, along with the city of Asmara itself. This moment comes as Eritrea, which sits like a narrow, slanted pistol along the Horn of Africa, continues to face fierce criticism. Its government is considered one of the world’s most repressive regimes.
Heritage group’s work pays off as UNESCO inscribes Africa’s modernist city.
UNESCO has rewarded the diligence of the Asmara Heritage Project (AHP) by inscribing the Eritrean capital to the World Heritage List.
In 2001 the government of Eritrea imposed a moratorium on building in Asmara, following public concern over the loss of not only its historic buildings, but what that meant for the country’s collective identity. Since then the city has been meticulously documented by the Asmara Heritage Project (AHP) with the aim of achieving World Heritage status.
Last year a research paper authored by the team behind Asmara’s bid was awarded the RIBA President’s Medal for Research, something the AHP team believes played a significant part in the city’s inscription. The paper was an overview of the Nomination Dossier submitted to UNESCO on 1 February 2016.
Still need a reason to travel this year? From the English Lake District to the modernist city of Asmara, we look at the top new Unesco sites to visit from the UAE.
Last month, 26 new sites were added to Unesco’s World Heritage List, bringing the total to 1,073. Of these, 18 are cultural and three natural. For visitors from the UAE, here are the five most tourist-friendly.
This out-of-the-way site – a 230km, 3.5 hour drive from Izmir in western Anatolia – is one of the most important archaeological sites of the Greek and Roman periods in Turkey. Aphrodisias, named after its patron goddess Aphrodite, was founded in the 2nd century BC, and today’s remains include the Temple of Aphrodite, a large agora (public square), Hadrianic baths, a theatre and stadium.
Asmara, the capital of Eritrea origins back some 700 years primarily as an Italian state. The area still has artistic flavors of Italian culture, architecture and culinary traditions.
Many tourists praise the country belonging to different religions particularly Islam and Christianity as the day starts with a prayer call for Muslims followed by Christians’ prayers from cathedral. It is the safest region of the entire Africa and a source of persistent attraction to the travelers who plan and get on flights to Asmara.
Travelers are welcomed and hosted by the city at the contribution of cheap flight to Asmara. Airline companies are making their way out through the intense competition over airfare rates for the travelers and their flights to Asmara and even organizing cheap flight to Asmara.
Just as the day Asmara was liberated, Eritreans all over the world are basking in her glory and celebrating her new found fame – World Heritage Site.
Asmara woke up early on 8 July 2017, as it did for ages…the early morning call to prayers from nearby mosques and the sounds of church bells mix with the sounds of click clock from horse and donkey driven carriages, and the buses and trucks heading out of the city to villages near and far. No doubt the women were up early to clean the tree lined avenues and the city’s sidewalks-with nothing but the thatched brooms and wheelbarrows, picking up litter and washing away the dust. Cleanliness is next to godliness… and Asmara perched at 2500 feet above sea level, is heavenly.