As the world slowly learns to live with the reality which the pandemic has left us, it is anticipated that many travellers will be looking to be outdoors and enjoy the natural world in more ways than ever.
Here are just a few suggestions from the finalists in the BGTW International Tourism Awards 2020 for your next getaway, when we can all travel safely again.
Caernarfon Station and First Class Pullman Carriage with Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways
For travellers who enjoy old school railway glamour, board the steam-hauled narrow gauge Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways in the top left hand corner of North Wales. Step back in time in the plush surroundings of the new First Class Pullman observation carriage named Gwyrfai, with armchair seating at tables of polished wood finish, built in the company’s own workshop, for an elegant day trip into Snowdonia.
The new, state of the art heritage station at Caernarfon awaits at the end, or the start, of the line. Within the modern facade contains retail space, interpretation area and a cafe for visitors.
Juliana Trail, Slovenia
The Juliana Trail is a 270km hiking trail showcasing the best of Slovenia’s Julian Alps. Including the popular lakeside town of Bled and the majestic scenery of Triglav National Park, along with some less well-known areas and plenty of fabulous views, this is a long distance hiking trail that allows visitors to experience the best of Slovenia’s unspoilt nature, rich culture and delicious cuisine.
A core principle behind the Juliana Trail was encouraging the use of public transport, with almost every stage beginning in a village or town accessible by bus or train. The path is well marked, and there’s a free app which will guide you through the 16 sections of the trail.
Santorini Wanderlust: Santorini Walking Tours, Greece
As one of the islands that is exposed to issues concerning over-tourism, this particular tour – Santorini Wanderlust – is an initiative to introduce the lesser known parts of Santorini, with the aim to step away from the overcrowded resort areas and bring the adventurous visitor to experience the lifestyle of locals who still live there.
A hike into the wild side of Santorini will have anyone rethink mass tourism and its impact on the local natural and social environments.
Michinoku Coastal Trail, Honshu, Japan
The eastern coast of Japan’s Tohoku region suffered greatly from the 2011 tsunami, an event causing the loss of 18,000 lives and destroyed communities. As part of the rebuilding, Tohoku created the Michinoki Coastal Trail, a multi-section 1,000km hiking trail that connects the recovering coastal communities to assist them with recovery.
‘Michinoku’ – meaning ‘the end of the road’, the trail takes hikers through its untamed nature and rugged landscapes along the coast. The region receives less than 2% of foreign travellers to Japan so its paths will be uncrowded, offering the best escape route surrounded by the sounds of nature.
Remando por La Paz, Rafting for Peace, Colombia
A unique tourism project that brings former guerrilla soldiers and local villages together to prove how tourism can mend war-torn communities. Rafting for Peace allows the integration of these ex-FARC members back into society as certified white-water rafting guides on the Río Pato, providing them with a means of living and purpose, at the same time, giving visitors a chance to raft through the jungle landscape of Colombia.
In this former hotspot for war, rafting on the Río Pato is indeed, rafting for peace.
Soqotra Heritage Project
Soqotra, or Socotra, is known for its biodiversity and natural heritage, and famous for the ‘up-side down’ trees. However, the archipelago’s culture and heritage have often been overlooked.
The Soqotra Heritage Project aims to introduce travellers to learn of the people, the living culture and traditions, and to celebrate the unique ancient heritage through music, dance, poetry, games, crafts, archaeology and language. Visitors are encouraged to attend performances and visit cultural sites to assist with conserving it for future generations of local Soqotri and visitors.