With 2016 drawing to a close, it is the time when several travel rankings are published giving a heads up to prospective travellers where they should be heading in the new year. One of the most prestigious, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017 list of Top 10 Countries is out, and Oman makes it to the top ten.
Among the top ten countries, Canada is ranked first, followed by Colombia and Finland. Dominica, Nepal, Bermuda, Mongolia, Oman, Myanmar and Ethiopia follow the rest in that order. Each destination is chosen for its topicality, unique experiences and ‘wow’ factor.
“Where is the best place to visit right now, at this very moment in travel history? This is the most hotly contested topic at Lonely Planet. We pose this question to everyone at Lonely Planet, from our authors and editors, all the way to our online family of bloggers and tweeters,” stated the editorial of the current Lonely Planet issue. “Amid fierce debate, the list is whittled down by our panel of travel experts to just ten countries, ten regions and ten cities that travellers must visit in the year ahead. We don’t just report on the trends, we set them – helping you get there before the crowds do,” it stated.
The magazine states that in Muscat’s Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, there is a beautiful handloomed carpet, it was once the world’s largest rug until Abu Dhabi’s Grand Mosque took the record. “This is poignant because Oman doesn’t boast many ‘firsts’ or ‘biggests’ in a region bent on grandstanding. What it does boast, with its rich heritage and embracing society, is a strong sense of identity, a pride in an ancient, frankincense-trading past and confidence in a highly educated future.”
“For visitors, this offers a rare chance to engage with the Arab world without the distorting lens of excessive wealth. Oman’s low-rise towns retain their traditional charms and bedouin values remain at the heart of an Omani welcome. With an abundance of natural beauty, from spectacular mountains, wind-blown deserts and a pristine coastline, Oman is the obvious choice for those seeking out the modern face of Arabia while wanting still to sense its ancient soul.”