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Special Feature: World Travel 2024

Where to Travel in the World in 2024

by Matt Thomas

Paris is due to the host the 2024 summer Olympics and Paralympics, and as such all eyes are on her from 26th July – 11th August and 28th August – 8th September respectively.

Events taking place include the cycling time trials around the Paris streets, beach volleyball and blind football will be contested beneath the Eiffel Tower.

Preparations have been underway since Paris was awarded the Olympics in 2017. New features of the city include several new museums that opened just last year, including the Musée National de la Marine, Maison Gainsbourg, Quai de la Photo and Cité de l’Histoire et la Défense.

The Olympic village has been cached in perhaps traditionally less affluent areas – around Saint-Denis, Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine and L’Ile-Saint-Denis, rendering this time a good opportunity to enjoy the less frequently visited areas of the city.

And what of Notre Dame? Shut since a fire in 2019, it is due to re-open in 2024 with a 466 million euro renovation including an Art Deco glass roof.

Throw in Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo’s commitment to increasing green spaces and ban on diesel cars and non-essential motorised through traffic, this year seems an excellent time to visit.

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Notre Dame Cathedral, pre 2019

Staying in Europe for the moment, the far north of Scotland is attracting a steadily increasing number of visitors as the Flow Country, a watery expanse way up beyond the Highlands seeks UNESCO World Heritage Status.

The Flow Country, takes some reaching but is a bleakly beautiful ecosystem rich in rare flora and fauna, combining land, water and peatlands. Wooden walkways thankfully make the impassable, passable and if provides peace, quiet and space to contemplate. Activities include birdwatching in the Forsinard Flows Nature Reserve, a visit to Dunrobin Castle, and driving the North Coast 500 south of Durness.

As the weather inevitably drives you inside, the pubs, tearooms, cafes and restaurants become all the more snug – they seem to mix nicely with the wide open spaces of the region.

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Triggered by protests that began in 2019, Chile has experienced significant social change in recent years. They have one of the world’s youngest leaders in Gabreil Boric who was elected in 2023 promoting indigenous, environmental and LGBTQ+ rights. Boric moved into a traditionally working class neighbourhood of Barrio Yungay in Santiago whose graffiti lined streets and heritage listed buildings are in vogue. Haute cuisine restaurants, art galleries, gin distilleries and craft breweries have popped up in previously underprivileged areas and Santiago’s metro system and fleet of electic buses has expanded to meet demand.

Away from the capital Easter Island (Rapa Nui) has redefined its relationship with tourism with fewer flights and higher park fees to encourage longer stays – quality taking precedence over quantity.

In the North of the country the Atacama, the driest non polar desert always lures travellers to her lunar like valleys and white salt falts. While in the south Punta Arenas is rivalling Ushuaia in Argentina as the main logistical hub for Antartic research.

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Following her historic performance at the 2022 World Cup North African traveller’s favourite Morocco is back in the limelight as a prime beach and surf destination.

In 2022 Morocco hosted the continent’s first ever pro surf event in Taghazout. In digital nomad hub Essaouira prime surfing conditions can be found for surfers of all standards. The high speed rail link from Tangiers is due to be in place soon and the old charming beachside cafes and restaurants remain in place.

After a 3 year gap Rabat’s famous Mawazine music festival returns and is free for 90% of its traditionally world class acts.

And there are always the day trek friendly High Atlas Mountains, outside of Marrakech.

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Finally after a few tough years for her tourism industry, with new flights from Europe and America to Delhi, Mumbai and Goa, and Kerala, India is back as a prime destination for 2024.

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Flying into a smaller hub however can be a less stressful way to enter the subcontinet. For example, jetting into Amritsar for a mountain trek around Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, or why not explore Gujarat via a flight into Ahmedabad.

Good news! There has been significant investment in India’s railways and new trains are being rolled out on city-to-city as well as suburban routes meaning rail infrastructure, which was overdue some investment is on the up.

There is a drive from the Indian government to connect the remote north east. Given the draw of seeing regional mountain villages, stunning waterfalls, jungle rainforests, and Himalayan valleys studded with Buddhist monasteries, now is perhaps the best time to hit it.

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Kerala Backwaters