July 17, 2007
Anyone who has ever wondered where to go to escape the crowded resorts for the perfect holiday break, need look no further. Hostelworld.com, the leading global hostel booking website, has broken the silence to reveal the most desirable, undiscovered locations in the world.
Over the past year, the "roads less travelled" which have seen the five largest increases are:
Marrakech, Morocco's rose city, with its exotic Souk markets, has had a four-fold increase over last year, of backpackers exploring the alleyways and sampling the delicious food. Sanya, China's tropical paradise has had a 140% rise of backpackers, keen to sail, fish, scuba dive, or just relax in the hot springs. Tarifa in Spain is hiding virgin beaches, beautiful landscape and a Moorish style city with enough bars, restaurants and pubs to quench any party goers thirst. With a 70% rise of visitors its popularity is growing quickly.
Dubrovnik's old city is home to some of Croatia's most beautiful architecture, with the historical city's popularity growing by 60%. Kingston, home of Bob Marley, has had an increase of 40% of backpackers enjoying the Jamaican experience: meeting Rastafarians, playing dominos in a rum shop or visiting a Kingston dance hall.
Niamh Ni Mhir, CMO of Hostelworld.com said; "Where backpackers and hostels lead, the rest of the tourist industry follows. In past decades, hidden gems could stay undiscovered for many years. For instance, when Thailand was first discovered by backpackers some of its islands remained untapped for more than twenty years. Now, people are becoming increasingly adventurous in their travel and want to discover new places for themselves. Hostelworld.com can help you find a budget place to stay in these destinations, but if you want to visit these gems when they are still relatively quiet, our recommendation is to go soon."
Hostels offer a good alternative place to stay with bookings through Hostelworld.com having increased steadily year on year since 1999 and now reaching 100,000 hostel beds booked online every single day. This is due to growing market demand, particularly in emerging regions such as Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America, an extended concept of 'youth', with young travel habits extending into people in their30's and the boundaries blurring between youth accommodation and other offerings, particularly budget hotels. The website also offers more than 1 million customer reviews enabling backpackers to make decisions based on the recommendations and advice of fellow travelers.
Hidden in the southern most region of the Hainan province is the tropical paradise of Sanya, made famous in 2003 as the host city of the Miss World beauty pageant. With a myriad of summertime activities at revellers' disposal, such as sailing, fishing, golfing, scuba diving, relaxing in the hot springs, hiking in the tropical rainforest, river rafting and of course shopping, Sanya has always been a popular getaway for Hong Kong residents. However, every year an increasing number of foreign tourists choose this exotic locale for a vacation to remember.
Recommended hostel: Sunny Sanya Family Inn
Rates from €7/day
While Kingston, Jamaica has always been known as the home of Bob Marley, this year it was put back on the map for a completely different reason, as the host of the Cricket World Cup in March. Kingston is the capital and largest city in Jamaica and is located on the south eastern coast of the island, boasting the sea as a border to the south and St. Andrew Mountain as a backdrop to the north. While commonly known for its beaches and rum cocktails, the most enriching experiences come from immersing yourself in the real Jamaican experience: meeting Rastafarians, playing dominos in a rum shop or visiting a Kingston dance hall. If exploring the island's history sounds more appealing, take a trip to the ruins of Port Royal, trek through the Blue Mountains or visit the Bob Marley museum which just happens to be built at his former home! Travellers be warned: the rainy season typically lasts from May to November.
Recommended hostel: Leighton House
Rates from €14/day
Situated at the southern most tip of Europe, Tarifa is Spain's undiscovered gem! With a moderate temperature all year round, virgin beaches and vast uncontaminated landscape, this hidden jewel is destined to become a popular tourist destination. While its popularity is quickly growing, Tarifa's Moorish style is still prevalent in its city centre and its modern transformation has avoided the mistakes made in the 1960's during Spain's tourism boom. It has reinvented itself by seamlessly blending its hotels and other accommodation facilities along the virgin coastline and within the old city walls. Tarifa is also known as the wind capital, attracting kite and wind surfers from all over the globe! With Morocco a mere 35 minute ferry ride away, you can easily hop over to another continent for the day. However, if sports, country hopping or lounging around on a pristine beach is not for you, there are no shortage of bars, restaurants and pubs which can quench any party-goers thirst for fun!
Recommended hostel: The Melting Pot Backpackers Hostel
Rates from €20/day
The uniqueness of Croatia lies in its stark diversity, with its 1,185 islands, islets and reefs. Situated between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, it offers its visitors the chance to hit the slopes during the winter and bask on its glorious beaches during the summer. The city of Dubrovnik is nestled in the Elaphite archipelago islands, located in the very south of Croatia. One of the most recognizable features of Dubrovnik, and its biggest attraction, is the city wall which runs uninterrupted around the city. This historical city offers endless attractions, from surfing, cycling, sailing, diving, rowing, fishing, hunting and hiking, there is an activity for every taste.
Recommended Hostel: Youth Hostel Dubrovnik
Rates from €15/day
Known as the "rose city" due to the red clay earth below, Marrakech is a symbol of the Morocco of the past, surviving virtually unchanged from the middle ages. In the centre of Marrakesh lies the biggest square in the entire continent of Africa, Djemaa el Fna, which houses a market from an age gone by, filled with snake charmers, storytellers, acrobats and musicians. You won't go hungry in Marrakech with an endless selection of meals from numerous Djemaa el Fna food stalls, cafรฉ's and restaurants filled with Moroccan delicacies. The souk, a famous market with winding streets, is located in alleys off the main square and is dedicated to specific goods such as leather crafts, carpets and traditional handicrafts, many of which you can often watch being made. A perfect place to take a break from the maze of activity is the gardens, donated by Yves St Laurent and filled with lake sized pools and cool, quiet surroundings.
Recommended hostel: Riad Medina Azahara
Rates from €18/day
Hostelworld.com is a leading provider of online reservations to the budget, independent and youth travel market. It offers confirmed online reservations for over 12,000 hostels and budget hotels in 165 countries worldwide. The site also offers budget travellers free podcasts, customised city guides, a travel social network and more. Hostelworld.com is headquartered in Dublin and is fully owned and operated by Web Reservations International Ltd (WRI).