While countries like France or U.S. are regularly packed with tourists, some of the world’s destinations receive very few visitors. Reasons vary, from complicated politics, wars, and regimes, to geographical remoteness and extreme wilderness. Since they’re so unpopular, it’s often hard to count how many travelers reach them. Nevertheless, each year the World Tourism Organization publishes statistics concerning tourism in various countries. Some of the information below is based on their reports; the rest of it comes from large TV stations, magazines and other sources trying to estimate the numbers. Read the list and find out what are the most isolated and least visited destinations in the world.
Nauru (est. 200 visitors per year)
Nauru’s world’s tiniest republic and it covers an area of 21 sq. kilometers. As the only country in the world, it has no capital. There are smaller islands out there, but they’re closely connected with some larger countries. Thus Nauru keeps the title of the smallest independent republic. This fact is enough of an explanation why the country’s so rarely visited, but there’s even more. Nauru has its national airline, Our Airline, which is admirable considering its size, although it’s worth mentioning no other airlines fly there. To enter the country, visitors must obtain a visa. A trip to Nauru’s a complicated project. The beaches are lovely though, and it’s undoubtedly one of the most private places across the globe, so if you seek some real seclusion, no place will be more suitable than Nauru.
Somalia (est. 500 visitors per year)
Political chaos, civil war, military coups and Muslim extremists, that’s what fills the landscape of Somalia. There’s an official government in Mogadishu, but in reality, its power is limited. Somaliland is the only relatively functioning region, but traveling it isn’t entirely safe either. Obviously, nobody’s going to Somalia for these exact reasons. The country’s only visited by business travelers, researchers and other people who have to go there.
Tuvalu (1,000 visitors per year)
Formed of gorgeous low-lying islands, Tuvalu is the world’s 4th smallest country. Extremely remote, located somewhere between Hawaii and Australia in the Pacific Ocean, it’s a little piece of quiet paradise. The atmosphere is relaxing, locals laid-back and sunshine never ends. It sounds like a place tourists would love, right? Well, they surely would, if Tuvalu wasn’t located so far from everything. There’s an airport, but flights are rare and connect Tuvalu only with Fiji. The islands are located nearly as low as the ocean, so rising sea level caused by global warming is a serious concern there.
Kiribati (6,000 visitors per year)
Although Kiribati’s 33 atolls cover an area of only 811 sq kilometers. They span 3.5 million kilometers of the Pacific Ocean. Western culture has reached the islands, but its impact is rather small. Locals use cars, surf the Internet and meet in bars, but most of them still live traditionally. Time passes slowly; lagoons are turquoise, palm trees sway gently, everything’s warm and lovely – it’s a perfect place to relax. Unfortunately, just like Tuvalu, Kiribati’s threatened by the rising sea level. If climate keeps changing, the country might be the first one to disappear entirely. The situation’s getting so bad that the government even started looking for a land where the residents of Kiribati could move to in the future.
North Korea (est. 6,000 visitors per year)
North Korea’s so mysterious it’s hard to say how many visitors access it. Famous mostly for totalitarian dictatorship and human rights violations, the country isn’t a tourist destination. All tours are highly controlled; you can’t enter without a guide. Any “spontaneous” behaviors might result in immediate deportation or arrest, so you should follow the guide if you want to complete the tour typically. People who aren’t ready to accept their freedoms being limited for some time should skip the trip. Otherwise, it can be fascinating to see a place so strange, different and somewhat scary.
Niue (7,000 visitors per year)
A hidden gem of Oceania, Niue is a gorgeous little island. It isn’t a typical summer destination, not only because of its remoteness but nature as well. Unlike most islands in the Pacific Ocean, this one has no long white-sand beaches. Only small stretches of sand can be found here and there. They’re tiny but cozy and delightfully secluded. It isn’t a perfect place for beachaholics though. To visit Niue, you also need a sense of adventure. The only way to get there by plane is flying from Auckland (New Zealand). Activities the island offers are mainly designed for outdoor and water sports enthusiasts. Underwater tunnels and mysterious caves are wondrous, and even the most experienced divers will find them astonishing. The population is small but welcoming. Few visitors get there, but once in a while you can meet a foreigner, there’s a small community of European expats who loved the island so much they simply couldn’t leave.
Montserrat (7,000 visitors per year)
Montserrat was way more cheerful before the volcano erupted in 1995. Famous as a place where the Beatles producer George Martin funded a recording studio called Air Montserrat, it was known among musicians and their fans. Sadly, things changed drastically after the eruption. A large part of the population was evacuated and much of the island’s beauty destroyed. Now visiting the island is relatively safe and most tourists go there to see the unfortunate volcano. Despite the destruction, the tropical life is still precious and landscapers remain enjoyable.
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