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Blue train in Sri Lanka
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7 countries that really need more travellers in 2022

These beautiful places around the world are hoping you visit ASAP

Written by
Karen Edwards

Over the past two years, tourism across the world has ground to a near-enough halt, with many nations having to re-examine how to fill the revenue gap that thousands, sometimes millions, of travellers once brought to their economies.

The loss in income, on both an individual and national level, has been huge in some places – with the impact on infrastructure development and conservation efforts also stalling. For the many people working in the travel and tourism industry, and the communities who support or depend on it, the recovery will be slow and gruelling.

So, while 2022 should be the year we rethink how we travel and become more mindful about our carbon footprint, it is also the year where we should choose our holidays wisely, making a conscious decision about where is best to travel under the current circumstances. As you plan your trips, consider the following countries – they have had a particularly difficult time over the past 23 months.

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Countries that really need more travellers in 2022

Antigua and Barbuda
Photograph: Shutterstock

1. Antigua and Barbuda

Caribbean nations began losing their tourism income early in the pandemic when many were forced to close their border due to rocketing Covid cases in both the USA and Europe. Last spring, some islands including Antigua and Barbuda, launched an extended remote-working visa programme to lure travellers back to their sunshine islands. That dreamy offer is still open, with a two-year ‘Nomad Digital Residence’ visa costing $1,500 (£800) for a single applicant, or $2,000 (£1,050) for a couple.

Photograph: Shutterstock

2. Botswana

Thanks to on-off border restrictions blocking most travel to southern Africa, Botswana was dealt a particularly tough blow during the pandemic. Tourism is important here, not only to keep jobs, but also to support local communities and the rangers who protect wildlife against poachers. The European winter and summer months are a great time to visit. During the former, herds tend to enjoy the lush fruits of a southern hemisphere summer, while in the latter, the dry season draws animals to waterholes – making the elusive leopard and cheetah easier to spot.

Sri Lanka
Photograph: Shutterstock

3. Sri Lanka

This tropical teardrop-shaped island has faced back-to-back bad luck, with the 2019 Easter bombings followed by pandemic restrictions meaning very few travellers have set foot here over the last three years. If planning your first visit, book a private car and driver before you travel, requesting an exploratory drive along the sprawling south-west coastline from Hikkaduwa to Tangalle. More adventurous travellers may appreciate the long-distance train journey from Colombo to the jungle-covered mountains of Ella, stopping off in the ancient city of Kandy and tea estates of Nuwara Eliya along the way.

Photograph: Shutterstock

4. Fiji

Beautiful Fiji in the South Pacific is surrounded by crystal-clear turquoise waters, and is hugely dependent on visitors, particularly cruise passengers. As a result, and despite having minimal Covid cases compared with most countries, this island nation has seen very little tourism over the last two years. With borders now open, they’re hoping it won’t be long until holidaymakers are brave enough to return to this slice of paradise to swim, snorkel, Scuba dive or simply sit back on a beach with a cocktail.

Photograph: Shutterstock

5. Australia

The land Down Under closed its borders to tourists in March 2020 and is only now considering a slow reopening to the world. Each region is following its own guidelines, and it’s the international favourites – including the Sydney Harbour boat tours and helicopter flights and Melbourne’s Arts and Theatre council – who are most desperate to welcome visitors again. While vaccinated travellers needn’t quarantine in New South Wales and Victoria, Western Australia isn’t even open to interstate visitors yet. The rules change often – so check before booking.

Photograph: Shutterstock

6. Madeira

Just off the south-west coast of Portugal, idyllic Madeira has had to deal with the uncertainty of ever-changing travel restrictions across Europe. As an offshore island, they have largely managed to keep Covid at bay, but when the mainland struggled with its numbers, Madeira inevitably suffered from a drop in visitors. The small, volcanic island is easily driveable by hire car, and combines cultural highlights – notably the Story Centre and loads of top restaurants – with outdoor activities like hiking, canyoning, kayaking, wild swimming and Scuba diving.

Photograph: Shutterstock

7. Mauritius

Mauritius is a small, tropical island in the Indian Ocean, perfect for the sunshine-searching traveller. Sadly, during just the first year of the pandemic, the country reported a 78 percent drop in annual visitors. So, if you’re looking for a palm-fringed beach escape, Mauritius is a strong contender. Start off your trip in  culture-packed capital Port Louis before enjoying some R&R at a sustainable retreat like the Otentic Eco Tent experience.

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