Best Travel Destinations for 2017: Uncommon Selections

A variety of travel industry sources recently published their best travel destinations for 2017. Often, a locale is deemed worthy of recognition for an annual best travel destinations list based on special events occurring there. Historic anniversaries also give a location a leg up on getting named a hot travel destination. Excluding those obvious entries on the best travel destination lists for a given year, the choices have always struck me as rather random. In the interests of research, I wondered if a case could be made for a totally random Best Travel Destinations of 2017 list. My kids performed a blindfolded, spin and point operation to identify the 5 random destinations.

Best Travel Destinations for 2017 According to Travel Industry Sources

But first, let’s identify competing best picks destinations for 2017, identified by travel industry experts, and my take on their merits:


London – selected by Frommer- is where the royal wedding will take place. London is sure to be overcrowded and overpriced, and visitors to London will miss a lot they might see at another time. But they will come home with bragging rights.

New York

New York- chosen #1 by Lonely Planet- will unveil a new memorial will open in time for the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. New York is a fantastic place to visit anytime, and the opening of the Ground Zero memorial makes it no more or less desirable in 2017.

Turku, Finland

Turku is a European Capital of Culture in 2017. Few people could pinpoint Turku on a map. Besides its unpleasant average year round temperature of 41 degrees Farenheit, Turku hired Brits to come in and stage the opening show as it assumes the role of culture capital- highly suspicious.

Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington- Lonely Planet’s #4 pick- boasts luxury lodging and Wellywood movies. Wellywood is an appealing theme for move buffs, but touting the luxuriousness of the lodgings is a bit lame.

The Peruvian Amazon- #3 pick by CNN- is acclaimed for visitors’ opportunity to create their own adventures without a car. Creating your own adventures in the wilderness of the Peruvian Amazon is a fun trip for a certain caliber of traveler but it certainly isn’t popular with your average tourist. Tell the average American tourist that he has to leave his car behind and any interest he had in this destination is likely to plummet.

Random Picks for Best Travel Destination 2017

When my kids began choosing random destinations, I developed grave second thoughts about this experiment. By the time the list was complete, I was laughing uncontrollably. What did they select? The first pick was Georgia, of the Russian variety. Next came Greenland. After that, Tulsa, Oklahoma. I thought my job was getting easier but before I could let out a sigh of relief, they announced their final picks: Kampala, Uganda and Qostenay, Kazakhstan. Why in the world should anyone go to any of those places in 2017?

Georgia in 2017?The State Department warns U.S. citizens to avoid the separatist regions including South Ossetia and Abkhazia. That leaves…skiing. The Gudauri and Bakuriani resorts in the Caucasus Mountains are well-respected ski destinations. With Georgia tourism in its developing stages, those willing to tolerate some anomalies will likely find some good bargains. The government has worked hard to upgrade tourism with considerable success, a 35 percent increase in tourists in 2010.

What does Greenland offer? The Midnight Sun, Northern Lights, whale watching, and iceberg spotting, hot springs, dogsledding, kayaing, walruses, and polar bears. With Greenland’s glaciers melting at record rates since at least 2007, getting a visit in during 2017 means more glacier to experience.

In Tulsa, the Cherokee Nation cultural program commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War will debut. In addition to civil war history, Cherokee Nation offers Cherokee History, Will Rogers, and Cherokee Old Settler tours. Tulsa is situated on the famed Route 66, enabling vistors to enjoy a historic ride on a highway that is pure Americana .

Kampala, Uganda offers ample shopping and casinos, a variety of historic treasures, including one of only seven Baha’i temples in the world, the Namirembe and Rubaga Cathedrals and the old Kampala Mosque. The Kasubi tombs are no longer open to tourism due to fire, but the government opened the dark tourism site Namugongo Martyrs shrines in their stead. Kabaka’s Trail offers traditional culture. The best reason to go choose 2017 as the year to visit this destination? Avoiding all the tourists crowding London and New York.

Qostanay, Kazakhstan is a tough sell as a vacation destination. It has some monuments to educators, poets and scientists and a few museums but the best reason I can think of for someone to go there on vacation this year is the assurance that virtually no one else will be doing it.As for choosing the best tourist destinations for the year randomly, it seems to have a few downsides…

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