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Hottest destinations in 2012 included London, of course, but many far-from-home destinations also made it to the top 10. Despite the recession and economic downturn, Brits continue to travel the world and relentlessly explore its far end corners.

Belize – a destination of choice in Central America and the best spot to witness the ‘end of the world’ scheduled on 21 Dec 2012 (21/12/2012)

New-Zealand – ‘to follow in the Hobbit steps’. Personally I’d love to see the place where one of my favourite ‘horror’ movies was shot… Black Sheep – a ‘chef d’oeuvre’ of piss-taking and self-derision.

Portugal – Porto, colourful and vibrant, gateway to the Duro Valley with spectacular landscapes and amazing wines. We loved the cheap, cheap, surprisingly good, wines served in small restaurants.

New-York City – Loved it 10 years ago and can’t wait to go back.

Curaçao, Caribbean – Gorgeous Caribbean Island, celebrating its first year of independence since the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles

Oman – While neighbouring oil-rich countries are erecting skyscrapers, Oman is adding an opera house and planting desert gardens amid the capital’s white stone buildings.

Finland – Helsinki is an amazing city with lovely bonkers people and a great tradition – early morning smoked sauna followed with breakfast made of home-made smoked salmon and potato salad – hmmm….!

Tanzania – with the opening of exclusive safari reserves, Tanzania is bound to catch-up with neighbour Kenya very soon

Prague – beautiful with character, Prague is a really pretty city with a compact city centre which makes walking explorations totally feasible

Cuba – new restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts, some in gorgeous colonial villas, have sprung up over the past year as the government has allowed more private enterprise

Although I not only travel a lot for work but also for leisure, I have realised that there are big chunks of the planet that I don’t know and would love to go to, one day. For example:

Chilean Patagonia – horse-riding in spectacular landscape

Vietnam – Halong Bay, in November 2010, the Unesco World Heritage site was provisionally named one of the world’s “new seven wonders of nature” based on a global poll conducted by a Swiss foundation — just as Vietnam Airlines announced the first-ever nonstop flights between London and Vietnam!

Jordan – to see Petra (and gallop away in the sunset)

Myanmar – to boycott or not to boycott… Even though pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been freed, there is no doubt the country is still under the yoke of an authoritarian regime

Places closer to home include Berlin, St-Petersburg but also Cornwall, the Scottish Highlands and the Lochs. You don’t need to go far to discover new places and new people… Nowadays, and thanks to lowcosts and modern technologies, travelling has become easier and more accessible than ever, it is an education in itself which broadens the minds and enlightens our everyday life.

And I’ll leave the last word to those two – they say it better than me…

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

St. Augustine

Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you travelled.

Prophet Mohammed

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