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Destinations


Looking for an adventure? Here are some predicted hot spots for the year 2000:

Safari
Observing the wild in Africa. . .  
Scuba
Exploring the depth of the seas. . .  
Alaska
Surviving the winter in Alaska.

  RESOURCES
TEST CNN TRAVEL:
· Y2K travel news
· Tips and Web links

TRAVEL MESSAGE BOARDS:
· Y2K weekend travel
· Future of travel
· New Year destinations
 
  ALSO
For more ITN millennium coverage, visit ITN on line. logo
 
 
Age of discovery

Hot destinations for 2000 and beyond

January 1, 2000
Web posted at: 12:33 p.m. EST (1733 GMT)

From Stephanie Oswald
CNN Travel Now Correspondent

(CNN) -- The advent of the year 2000 marks the beginning of a new "age of discovery," travel experts say, especially discovery of the adventurous kind.

"That phenomenon of traveling for fun is really a product of the last century," says Adam Goldstein, of Royal Caribbean International. "So the potential for people to go and see different places in the world in the next century -- in the next millennium -- is enormous."

Suzanne Cook, of the Travel Industry Association (TIA), agrees. "Travel has become one of those of American necessities of life," she says. "We find, in our surveys, that people think that it is an essential -- a necessity to a good life."

So what constitutes the good life? Greeting the sun from the back of a camel in the Australian desert? Swinging through the lush Costa Rican rainforest or listening to the musical welcome of a remote culture in Papua New Guinea?

George Deeb is CEO of iExplore.com -- a Web site being designed to specialize in adventure travel and expected to launch near the end of March. Deeb names the rainforest in Madagascar and whitewater rafting along the Yangtze River in China as his top two destinations in the next era. He mentions that the Yangtze runs through a canyon twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.

The doors to China are expected to open wider for tourists, with the recent hand-overs to Beijing's control of Hong Kong and Macau. "The World Tourism Organization projects that by 2020, China is going to move up dramatically as a destination for travelers," Cook says.

How politics can impact tourism

Other emerging destinations include Cuba, Mali, Cambodia, Indonesia's Irian Jaya and Middle Eastern countries including Syria.

If the Middle East peace process progresses, it should become easier to cross borders, says Wendy Perrin of Conde Nast Traveler Magazine. "More and more people will want to go there (Syria) because these are some of the most important sites of the (ancient) world. "

After its political shift from apartheid, South Africa has put out a welcome mat.

"There is an absolutely beautiful train ride from Cape Town into Kruger National Park, the most populated big game reserve in Africa," Deeb says. "It's absolutely fabulous."

Active travelers looking for magnificent scenery with the help of scuba or snorkeling gear might turn to the Turks and Caicos Islands of the British West Indies or the reefs surrounding Papua New Guinea. Another unspoiled PNG destination is the mighty Sepik River, which runs about 700 miles (1,126 kilometers) with only a handful of villages along the way.

New twists on old favorites

Some adventurers may want to put a new spin on some old favorites. Touring Alaska in the summertime, for example, was once a hot vacation choice. But if you really want a challenge, brave that frontier in the wintertime. Fly down the international dateline along the westernmost coast in North America and visit the tiny Eskimo village of Wales, Alaska.

"I think you're going to see a rediscovery of places that a lot of people had always thought of going but hadn't had the chance to go to in the recent past," says John Stachnik, president of Mayflower Tours.

If an Australian adventure sounds enticing, but you've already seen Sydney, this might be the time to check out Arnhem Land -- an hour's flight east of Darwin. Arnhem Land is home to countless outdoor galleries, in which rock art -- dating back 50,000 years -- tells stories of Aboriginal culture.

Rounding out any list of incredible journeys for 2000 and beyond should be South American treasures -- Chile and Argentina among them.

"I think it's all about exploring new territories," says Laura Begley, of Travel & Leisure Magazine. "And I think South America's a place where not a lot of travelers have been. People have been to the Caribbean, they've been to Mexico, and now they want to go beyond."

South America can also be a launching point for those who want to travel to the end of the earth: Antarctica, where the penguins still outnumber the tourists.




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