52 Places to Go in 2020 is here. Read the full list now.

“The place would you go in case you might go anyplace?”

That was the query I posed to the members of The Occasions Journey desk again originally of September, at our kickoff lunch for the 2020 version of our annual 52 Locations to Go checklist. Between that day and the checklist’s publication, there have been nearly 4 months of analysis, dialogue, debate and as many synonyms for “argument” as you possibly can think about. Ultimately, we got here all the way down to these 52 destinations that we hope will encourage, delight and inspire you to discover the world.

How did we select them? After that preliminary ballot, we requested our common contributors, in addition to The Occasions’s international and home correspondents, to counsel locations that appeared newly contemporary and compelling. We pestered in-the-know vacationers for his or her 2020 musts. We grilled journey professionals about what had them excited. To make the minimize, it’s not sufficient for a spot to be stunning, superb and culturally vital. It additionally has to reply the query, why now? Why this place, this yr?

Tokyo, an awesome metropolis in any yr, is internet hosting the Summer season Olympics in 2020. It’s on our checklist.

The Bahamas, at all times a pleasure, wants help from vacationers within the wake of 2019’s Hurricane Dorian. On the checklist.

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Greenland, with its magnificent glaciers threatened by world warming and new airports on the horizon, made it, too.

As we made our decisions, themes emerged. This yr the 2 most distinguished have been the significance of sustainability and the pull of historical past. Over the past yr, the journey world woke as much as the implications of climate change and its contributions to world warming, in addition to questions on overtourism and who advantages from vacationer {dollars}. A rising variety of firms, locations and particular person vacationers are dedicated to mitigating their impression on earth. International manufacturers like Hilton and Marriott pledged to get rid of single-use plastics; KLM, the Dutch airline, ran ads suggesting that travelers might want to take the train. On Occasions Journey, we dedicated to buying carbon offsets for our workers airplane journey. (And no, we won’t be sending out a 52 Places Traveler this yr, although we are going to report from lots of our chosen locations.)

This checklist is, not less than partially, a fantasy of escape (see Australia’s Kimberley region or La Paz, Mexico), however we acknowledge that journey, like life, will be messy and contradictory. Getting on a airplane or a cruise ship or behind the wheel of a automobile provides carbon to the ambiance. However journey additionally brings individuals collectively, enlightens and amazes, and, correctly managed, has financial advantages.

Various locations on our checklist are main the best way in making journey extra sustainable (Western Sweden, we’re taking a look at you) or are limiting customer numbers to keep away from the plague of overtourism (Haida Gwaii, in Canada, is a pacesetter right here, in addition to in ensuring locals profit from tourism). Uganda limits the variety of gorilla-trekking permits for its famed Bwindi forest, and makes certain the proceeds assist shield the animals. Others, like Sabah, on the island of Borneo, might use assist from vacationers in establishing that preservation will be extra worthwhile than the destruction of habitats.

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Our considerations meant that some very tempting locations didn’t make the checklist. We had an extended debate, specifically, about Antarctica. Journey to the southernmost continent is booming: The Worldwide Affiliation of Antarctica Tour Operators, which incorporates many of the firms doing enterprise there, predicts that 78,520 individuals will go to Antarctica in 2019-2020, up from 56,168 in 2018-2019. Norwegian Airways, the low-cost provider, is now offering service to Ushuaia, the jumping-off level for a lot of Antarctic itineraries. All that gave us pause: Can Antarctica deal with that improve? Can it face difficulties related to people who have developed within the Galápagos or on Mount Everest?

Towards these worries, historical past provided a countervailing story of continuity. The German city of Oberammergau has been placing on its once-a-decade Ardour Play since 1634; you possibly can take within the 42nd staging this yr. Egypt, a contender final yr, is scheduled to finish its huge new Grand Egyptian Museum in 2020, making 1000’s of objects related to the pharoahs newly seen. As each American learns, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, England, 400 years in the past. In marking that second, the city will acknowledge and discover the conflicting views on the implications of that voyage. So historical past modifications, too.

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Our #1 place, Washington, seems to be each ahead and again. We thought it was essential to mark the 100th anniversary of American ladies successful the right to vote. Whereas Seneca Falls had its proponents, we determined there was no higher place to do this than the capital of america, a majority-minority metropolis full of immigrants and with a vibrant life past its monuments and halls of presidency. And what higher yr than 2020, in the course of what guarantees to be a very contentious election, to go to and bear in mind the beliefs on which america was based, and the truth that Washington belongs to everybody.

Amy Virshup is the journey editor of The New York Occasions.


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