Chernobyl and Chechnya: the world's latest unlikely holiday destinations

Updated: 

Chernobyl and Chechnya: Introducing the world's latest unlikely holiday destinationsThe cremation site of Pol Pot in Cambodia has become a tourist attraction. Photo: PA


Lounging on a lilo? Cocktails at the beach bar? Paddling in the sea? Not for the adventurous, who are side-stepping these run-of-the-mill activities for the latest unlikely holiday hotspots.

On the new must-visit list are: Cambodia, Chechnya, Rwanda, Afghanistan (yes, you read that right), and Chernobyl.

Cambodia offers an unlikely attraction - coined 'Genocide tourism' by the Telegraph - and, last year, 2.5 million visitors headed to sites like the killing fields in Choeung Ek, and the cremation site of Pol Pot.

While security issues are clearly still on high alert, tourists are, reportedly, returning to Afghanistan, with visitors being attracted by its natural beauty and cultural heritage.

This month, tourist authorities announced that work had started on a year-round ski resort in Chechyna, often thought of as a total no-no for British tourists. But officials are working hard to put it back on the tourist map.

According to the report in the Telegraph, Chernobyl, famous for being the site of the world's worst nuclear accident, has been drawing up to 10,000 tourists a year who, driven by morbid curiosity, want to check out the 'ghost town' of Pripyat.

Rwanda, meanwhile, is top of the dangerous-destination-boost, according to Tripadvisor, who says the country has seen a whopping 656% increase in searches in the last year - the biggest rise of any country.

The African spot, renowned for the tragic genocide in the 90s, is making a name for itself amongst outdoorsy tourists with its lush, rolling green hills and gorilla trekking and tours. The FCO still warns against travel to certain areas of Rwanda, but much of the country is now open to tourism.

In fact, it is currently seeking bids to create an international airport, which officials want to open by 2016, and see three million passengers a year pass through.

Other previous no-go zones to see a rise in searches on Tripadvisor include Sarajevo in Bosnia - out of bounds for much of the 90s during the Bosnian War - which has become a popular ski destination, and Macedonia, which has previously been out of bounds due to conflicts.

Emma O'Boyle, TripAdvisor spokesperson, explained: 'As Brits look for their next great travel experience, it seems destinations that only a few years ago would never have been an option are now being considered.

'We're seeing rapidly growing interest in destinations like Rwanda and the Republic of Macedonia, showing that British travellers may be becoming more intrepid and looking for something different than the traditional beach holiday.'