Tourism hotspots of 2010

   on December 20 2010 12:39 PM
A general view of Machu Picchu ruins April 1, 2010.
A general view of Machu Picchu ruins April 1, 2010. REUTERS

Not just by the number of international arrivals or the popularity of a place, tourism took the lead in many less-traveled places as well in 2010. While UN World Tourism Organisation recently announced that France will be the most sought-after place in 2010, places such as Scotland, Israel, Bethlehem and the like remained horded for some unusual charms. Here’s a list of world’s 10 tourist hotspots that saw an incredibly rise in tourism interests in 2010:

South Africa

South Africa stole world’s attention, thanks to the FIFA World Cup 2010 held in June 2010. South African Tourism, the national tourism agency, recorded a whopping increase of 17.4 percent in global tourist arrivals in the first eight months of the year, following the tournament. The country is also poised to lead space tourism with developing world-class space technology including building of spaceports. Besides this, the African country is home to some of the world's known astronomical observatories that draw tourists.

Scotland

As Scotland witnessed Shetland Islands, the third largest island of Scotland and the fifth largest island of British Isles, being ranked sixth among the top 10 tourist regions of the world, Harry Potter was doing even better to the country’s tourism in 2010. Scotland is one of leading countries promoting movie tourism and there are many film locations like Glencoe and the Glenfinnan Viaduct where scenes from Harry Potter were shot. The famous Edinburgh cafés where J.K. Rowling wrote the books also attract tourists. Besides, Scotland is one of the top choices for skiing during winters. Cairngorm Mountain, Glenshee and The Lecht are the main ski areas in Scotland offering training as well as amazing stretch of natural skiing terrain down the hills.

Singapore

Over 40 million tourists arrived at Singapore’s international airport by November 2010, about 14 percent up from last year. Tourism industry officials attribute the rise to the opening of two casino resorts in 2010, namely Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa. Already known for casinos, the opening of these two casino resorts in Singapore earlier this year attracted tourists, according to travel experts. With such alluring offerings, the island nation is on its way to become Asia's top gambling and tourist destinations.

Israel

With about 3.4 million visitors expected to arrive by the end of the year, the Israeli tourism ministry has declared 2010 as the “record year” for tourism. Beefed-up security aided the surge in tourism of Jerusalem, Israel’s capital city, which is visited by Christian devotees due to the fact that according to The New Testament of the Bible, Jesus was crucified at Jerusalem. The regions also abound in museums, heritage sites and ancient towns drawing a number of foreign tourists from across the world.

Bethlehem

A mutual agreement between Israel and Palestine over movement of tourists and a gradual fall in violence in the region over the past few years helped Bethlehem come out of its looming tourism in 2010. As per Israeli government figures, the Palestinian city has received a record number of 1.4 million tourists so far in 2010 and about 90,000 more are expected to visit Bethlehem during Christmas and holiday season, up about 70,000 from last year. Bethlehem, considered the Holy land of Christians, attract huge crowds during Christmas as the place is home to the Church of the Nativity where Christ was born.

Peru

The ancient city of Machu Picchu (Inca Empire) lies at a breathtaking location - on a mountain ridge of Urubamaba Valley in Peru. It has been attracting tourists and nature-lovers for long. An important cultural site depicting art and architecture of the Inca style, Machu Picchu is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Machu Picchu, which was built around AD 1400, was awarded the best ecologic tourism destination in South America at the 2010 World Travel Award and remained tourist hotspot of 2010 for varied attractions – a cultural heritage site, an architectural delight, natural environment, scenic spot and more.

Newcastle

The city of Newcastle in Australia was named among the top 10 must-see destinations in the world in Lonely Planet's 'Best in Travel 2011' book. The city that receives over 100,000 visitors a year attracts tourists with its fine beaches, climate, night-life, arts and laid-back surf culture. Newcastle’s inclusion in top 10 must-see cities in the world will help it to grow further into a travel hotspot.

Jamaica

Jamaica, the third largest island nation in the Caribbean Sea, won the World Travel Award 2010 as the 'Caribbean's leading destination' for the fifth consecutive year. Jamaica's beaches, natural harbor, Blue Mountains and its tropical climate has been popular with the tourists. The number of tourist arrivals in Jamaica is expected to boom only year on year.

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