When it comes to knowing what’s ahead for trend-setting travelers who are looking for new and culturally adventurous experiences, the experts at G Adventures have their fingers firmly on the global pulse. With more than 25 years’ experience creating fantastic journeys for adventure-minded customers, the small group tour operator offers travelers more than 700 different itineraries in nearly 100 countries on all seven continents.
A review of recent booking trends and country conditions, coupled with expert insights from G Adventures’ product, contracting, sales and marketing specialists from around the globe, informs this list of 10 trending destinations for adventure travelers in 2017.
- BHUTAN – 2017 is the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, so where better to visit than the world’s eco-friendliest country and - as of this year - the world’s first carbon negative country? It’s a noteworthy achievement for a place that bases its political decisions on the happiness of its people, and has declared environmental protection as integral to GNP (gross national happiness). The country has a “high value, low impact” tourist policy and visas are required for entry, as is booking through a licensed operator. An approved, 10-day Bhutan Adventure with G Adventures is priced from $3,099pp*.
- CANADA – 2017 is a year of celebration for the Great White North, as Canada marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation taking place and opens up its national parks free of charge all year. Canada’s profile has been raised by the recent visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and its charismatic prime minister Justin Trudeau, who recently appeared shirtless on a family hike in Quebec’s Gatineau Park. The all new Canadian Polar Bear Experience, which is newly featured in G Adventures’ Jane Goodall Collection and National Geographic Journeys line of tours, offers six exciting days for the wildlife enthusiast, priced from $5,999pp*.
- MONTENEGRO – This Balkan beauty has recently become a hotspot for celebrity visits with both Harrison Ford and Rita Ora spending time there in 2016 to enjoy some of its more than 180 miles of beaches and coastline. Next year, Montenegro is poised to become “the new Croatia for those in the know,” says G Adventures Vice President of Buying, Yves Marceau. “It’s more affordable and just as beautiful as its Balkan neighbor, and its excellent value will make it a growing option for those looking to avoid crowds.” In 2017, G Adventures will become the first operator to offer small group sailing trips around the Adriatic coast, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes the beautiful City, Gulf and Bay of Kotor. A guided, eight-day Montenegro Sailing trip from Dubrovnik is priced from $1,449pp*.
- IRAN – Iran is quickly becoming an ‘it’ destination for trend-setting travelers, thanks in part to British Airways launching direct flights to Tehran last month. G Adventures’ sales to Iran have doubled in the past year – a trend that is set to continue with increased investment in tourism infrastructure. European hospitality brands, meantime, are making plans to open new hotels to capitalize on, what the Wall Street Journal calls an “uptick in tourism” to a country with an economy that’s second only to Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. G Adventures travelers can explore the storied history of old Persia and experience the spirit of new Iran on a 14-day Iran – Discover Persia trip. Priced from $2,899pp*.
- PORTUGAL – It’s often said that adventure travelers are less deterred by travel warnings and negative events, but look elsewhere to fill their craving. One destination benefiting from recent shifts has been the more affordable European country of Portugal, which has remained safe and stable for American visitors. It’s listed by the Global Peace Index as the fifth most peaceful nation in the world today. Responding to rising U.S. demand, Delta Air Lines just announced plans to add daily seasonal flights connecting New York’s JFK airport and Lisbon. And according to Marceau, “Portugal offers a much longer season, with its beaches, culture, history, great food, temperate weather and cool winters. Plus, it’s become very popular with the millennial traveler because of its liberal stance on social issues.” For them, G Adventures has added an affordable, 10-day ‘Yolo’ tour (You Only Live Once) of Portugal and Spain in 2017, for just $1549pp*.
- MADAGASCAR – G Adventures’ sales to Madagascar are up 25%, representing the highest growth destination in Africa for the small groups tour operator this year. The island nation is coming back after several recent years of diplomatic and financial isolation, and foreign investment is helping improve travel infrastructure. Plus, discoveries of new lemur species excite naturalists. The United Nations World Tourism Organization and the International Trade Centre have recently partnered with Madagascar’s Ministry of Tourism on a four-year project aimed to increase sustainable tourism and boost economic growth. In response to demand, G Adventures has launched a new, eight-day trip for 2017, the Baobab and Tsingy Explorer for $1599pp*. It also offers a 14-day Highlights of Madagascar tour for just $2,099pp*, which is part of its new Jane Goodall Collection.
- GREENLAND – The discovery of a 372-year-old shark in 2016, plus the potential to see a kaleidoscope of Northern Lights, will have nature lovers eager to experience remote Greenland next year. This could be particularly true, as winter travelers look for ways to push the envelope and experience the ‘next Iceland’. Travel on land here is still quite limited and therefore expensive, but touring by expedition vessel improves comfort and accessibility. A 15-day Arctic Highlights trip onboard the G Expedition ship, which starts in Longyearbyen, Norway and finishes in Reykjavik, Iceland, is priced from $5,999pp*.
- CAMBODIA – Cambodia has been in the spotlight recently for reasons old and new. 2016 saw the well-publicized discovery of an ancient city below Angkor Wat. There have also been on-set pictures circulating of the film version First They Killed My Father, a biography about the Cambodian genocide directed by Angelina Jolie for release by Netflix in late 2016. A nine-day Cambodia Experience trip is priced from $1049pp*.
- ISRAEL – G Adventures’ sales to Israel have doubled in the past year, and from the United States, are on track to quadruple for 2017, perhaps encouraged by Israel’s internationally renowned security. June 5th, 2017, also marks 50 years since the historic Six Day War. For travelers looking for a guided, educational experience, the eight-day National Geographic Journeys Israel and Beyond trip is priced from $2,299pp* and features a dual-narrative walking tour of Bethlehem with both Israeli and Palestinian guides, as well as discussion with an Israel scholar who specializes in conflict resolution.
- SOUTH KOREA – So-Ko might having a fashion and beauty moment, but there are plenty of other reasons to check it out in 2017. South Korean novel The Vegetarian won the 2016 Man Booker International Prize, and attention will be turning to the country in the build-up to the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. The Korean Tourist Board has also just joined forces with Japan and China to create the new ‘Visit East Asia’ partnership, encouraging travel to all three countries. A 10-day Best of South Korea trip is priced from $3,149pp*.
One last destination that’s not yet rebounded but worth watching in 2017 is Egypt. G Adventures travelers are steadily returning, and reduced crowds plus a strong U.S. dollar to the Egyptian pound make it an interesting time to visit some of the world’s most iconic, ancient structures. The tombs of King Seti and Queen Nefertari, for example, reopened to visitors earlier this year. For travelers wanting top-notch local expertise, G Adventures’ Egyptian CEO (chief experience officer) tour guide Sem Sem Saied was just named the world’s best, earning Gold at the Wanderlust World Guide Awards. He leads G Adventures’ 14-day Highlights of Egypt trip (among others), which is an epic adventure that invites travelers to discover the riches of Egypt's geography, culture and archaeology. Priced from $1,599pp*.
For more information or to book these or other 2017 trips, please call 800-676-6230 or visit www.gadventures.com
*Prices do not include flights. For inclusions, see trip links above.