In a recent reflective moment I was thinking about Vietnam.
When I was younger, the country was permanently in the news: the Vietnam War started in 1945 with the attempt to re-establish French colonial rule and ended in 1975 with the American withdrawal and the final unification of the country under communist rule.
Now that former warzone is a tourism hotspot.
It’s not the only destination that has gone from being off-limits in the seventies to being a top destination for businesses and holidaymakers: Beijing, Shanghai, Moscow, St Petersburg, Prague, Budapest, Tallinn. You can also add in Cuba and what was a small one-hotel trading port called Dubai.
If you were a property investor in the mid-seventies and you knew then what was going to happen in those destinations, you might just have made one or two fruitful investments.
A great many corporations now employ so-called futurists – at excessive salaries – to predict market trends to try and future-proof research, development and investment strategies.
I’ve listed ten places that are popular today that you couldn’t go to 35 years ago. The obvious question now is: where are the business and holiday hotspots of the next 35 years? Where should you start negotiating land deals?
A couple with FCO warnings stamped all over them: Burma (or Myanmar, as the generals call it) and Beirut, a beautiful city still struggling with sectarian unrest.
And then there’s Zimbabwe. Hopefully a certain individual will be gone and a beautiful country restored.
Tibet is a fascinating place that may also one day be easier to get to than it is today.
There’s also northern Japan and Christchurch – two areas both brutally hit by natural catastrophes this year.
Finally, there’s Baghdad, Tehran, Tripoli and Damascus.
You might scoff at Baghdad – but go back to my earlier comments on Vietnam. As crazy as it sounds, Baghdad, on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, could just be the top destination of 2045.
Nigel Cooper was the founding chair of events trade association Eventia. He is executive director of P&MM Events & Communications.
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