- Despite increased turmoil in the Middle East in 2006, Egypt held on to its top world travel destination, the US travel market analyser iExplore announced today. With plenty of historical sites, Egypt remains one of the world's most famous and dear tourist destinations.
South Africa and Tanzania were placed third and sixth positions among the Top Ten World Travel Destinations as determined by the vacation purchases of iExplore's mostly American "adventure and experiential travellers". Africa is thus well represented on the list.
Antarctica, Peru, China, India, Thailand, Italy and Argentina became 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10 respectively.
The founder and Chief Executive Officer of iExplore, George Deeb, said "other than Antarctica jumping to our number 2 position, no real surprises in 2006. The American traveller continues to look for perceived safe travel destinations in a post 9/11/01 world, and it looks like it was Antarctica's turn in 2006, partially benefited by increased exposure in big films like 'March of the Penguins' and 'Happy Feet'."
Other destinations showing strong growth in 2006 included Costa Rica (#11) and Japan (#13). Bumped from last year's top ten were the Galapagos Islands (#12), New Zealand (#17) and France (#43). Europe continues to suffer given the falling value of the US dollar, as compared to the euro, making trips much more expensive to American travellers.
Africa, on the other hand, is making steady advances among American travellers. Egypt also topped last year's list, and the two other main North African destinations - Tunisia and Morocco - are also doing well, while still mostly being visited by European travellers. The entire North African region, which is noting a boom in arrivals, enjoys very low prices and favourable exchange rates.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the South and East remain dominating due to their well developed infrastructure, gaming resources and favourable climate. Especially South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya - but also Zambia, Botswana and Namibia - have been able to capitalise on the growing tourism industry and also attract many American travellers.
West and Central Africa remain deeply underdeveloped tourist destinations, especially for the US traveller. The few nations of that region basing a considerable part of their budgets on the tourism industry - Cape Verde, The Gambia, Senegal, Mali and São Tomé - all are almost exclusively based on European visitors. Also the successful Indian Ocean destinations of Mauritius, Seychelles and Réunion mostly attract European travellers and are therefore underrepresented on the iExplore list.
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afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.