Why frontier and emerging market tourism is on the rise

Written by Andrew Henderson
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It doesn’t get any more mainstream than the New York Times. American conservatives of all stripes bash it as the standard bearer of Old Guard liberalism. Yet a recent interactive feature in the paper showcased a number of emerging markets tourism destinations as travel “must sees”.

Many Americans are unaware of the New Golden Age building around them. Mention Mongolia or Montenegro or Myanmar and they won’t know what you’re talking about.

That’s why I encourage you to get out and see for yourself exactly what is going on in these emerging economies that will re-shape the world as we know it.

Visiting or even living in these places will allow you to see exactly which economies will effect the lives of yourself, your children and your grandchildren.

Number one on the Times’ list is Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While Brazil is hardly the world economy’s best kept secret, the growth there is still astounding. Things are humming on all cylinders and the country will play a big role in the world going forward.

Credit has boomed and millions have entered the new middle class. While this has lead to an overheating and eventual cyclical slowdown helped by slower exports, Brazil will continue to be a serious player.

Beyond the BRICs, the Times recommends other much smaller economies definitely worth following.

Montenegro, in southeastern Europe, is home to the Europe’s lowest corporate tax rate – 9%. Before it was setting itself up as a low-tax haven, it was the Adriatic playground of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton.

Of course, a little thing like bombs dropping put a crimp on tourism. Now, the Balkan state is busy building a better infrastructure and a growing tourist business to attract visitors to its gorgeous coasts. The recession has slowed down some projects, but the government has been taking some good steps to creating a free economy.

The list continues into Asia, where Mongolia – the world’s fastest growing economy in 2011 – makes the list, along with Myanmar and the Philippines. The Philippines is one of Goldman Sachs’ Next 11 Economies, while Myanmar and Mongolia are untapped gold mines.

While Mongolia is one of the most resource-rich nations in the world, Myanmar is a capitalistic blank slate recovering from a military dictatorship that took it from one of the richest nations in Asia in the mid-1900s to a low-income developing state.

Growth in these places is feverish and demand for goods of almost any kind is high. This is economic development at its base level.

For the truly adventurous, Ghana makes the list as well. I’ve been talking about Africa lately and how the economy there will likely show the most impressive ascent in our lifetimes.

Yet few people are talking about it as the continent gets overshadowed by China and whatever Asian country is today’s “the next China”. So many stereotypes are waiting to be shattered by setting foot in Africa, especially in places like Ghana or neighboring Nigeria.

The next time you’re planning a trip, skip the poolside cabana and take my advice – and the Old Gray Lady’s – and jet off to one of these more exotic destinations to experience for yourself where the world is heading.

Andrew Henderson
Last updated: Dec 30, 2019 at 12:05PM

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