New pension changes in the UK that give over-55s more freedom to manage their money could mean more pensioners choosing to spend on travel and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. So, specialist travel agency Rickshaw Travel has created a shortlist of 6 ‘must-see-now’ destinations that are on the verge of dramatic change and should feature top of any avid travellers tick list.
Why now: Plans to introduce a new canal across Nicaragua will change the landscape and lifestyles of the people in the country dramatically. After a century-long controversy, the government has given the go-ahead to the Nicaragua Canal, a project that plans to link the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and is proposed to be three times as long and almost twice as deep as the Panama Canal. Construction of the canal began in December 2014 with a completion date in 5 years. It’s an earth-changing engineering venture of epic proportions. Environmentalists have warned of the canal’s irreversible effects on the local environment especially Lake Nicaragua, the only freshwater lake in the world that contains oceanic animal life, including sharks, swordfish, and tarpon.
Where: Indochina and The Mekong River
Why now: Experience life along the Mekong River and the surrounding landscapes of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam before the construction of the Xayaburi hydroelectric Dam in Laos is completed. The dam is seen by many as a threat to fish spawning, food supply, wildlife and a way of life in parts of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Why now: The new rules and eased restrictions on travel and access to Americans has raised questions and concerns on the impact this will have on Cuba’s old world charm and character. It can’t be said for sure what the future of tourism will hold in the country but those that wish to see Cuba ‘as we know it’ should travel soon.
Why now: The unique culture of Tibet, set high in the Himalayas, has been disintegrating since the country came under Chinese control in the 1950s. Despite high profile activists campaigning to free Tibet from Chinese occupation it’s said the language and various traditions are quickly being eroded. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the autonomous region of Tibet being formed and it’s expected the culturally sensitive date will result in even tighter control on permits for those wishing to visit.
Where: North India – the Taj Mahal and The Tigers of Rajasthan
Why Now: The Taj Mahal currently draws more than three million visitors a year but all that foot traffic is eroding the structure and some preservations groups are pushing for the landmark to be closed to the public. In recent years cars were banned from driving too close to the beautiful mausoleum because of pollution concerns, and many believe it won’t be long before the celebrated structure can only be enjoyed from a distance. It’s also a distinct and unsettling possibility that the tigers of Rajasthan could become extinct in our lifetime. In 1900 over 100,000 tigers lived in India but their natural habitats have been reduced by 93% and now as few as 3,200 remain. Travel soon to get a rare glimpse of them in the wild.
Where: Peru, Machu Picchu
Why Now: Next year a 3.5km cable car is planned to link the village of Tingo Nuevo to the ancient pre-Inca city of Kuelap, coined as ‘the second Machu Picchu.’ Tourism is expected to explode in the area impacting local lives and making the remote settlement accessible to all. Kuelap is considered one of Peru’s most significant archaeological sites after Machu Picchu and development will greatly affect the remains of this ancient civilization. The intended cable car aims to ease the burden on Machu Picchu, which limits the number of visitors and requires reservations to hike the famed Inca Trail, but this new development will draw many thousands more tourists bringing both opportunity and loss.
Rickshaw Travel runs tours to all these amazing places. For more information see www.rickshawtravel.co.uk