Lonely Planet Writer

Discover the fastest-growing travel destinations in the world last year

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has revealed the countries around the world that experienced a boom in tourism and visitors in 2016. Chief among them is the west African country of Sierra Leone. Last year saw a whopping 310% more tourists last year compared to 2015. This can be attributed mainly to the fall off in Ebola, which blighted the country the previous year.

Other countries to make the list include Nepal, which saw an increase of 39.7% in visitors last year. The country was hit by an earthquake in 2015 and is slowly recovering.

No 1. Sierra Leone + 310%. Boasts what is described by Lonely Planet as "staggeringly beautiful beaches". Image by: Getty
No 1. Sierra Leone + 310%. Boasts what is described by Lonely Planet as "staggeringly beautiful beaches". Image by: Getty
No  2. Nepal +39.7%.  The country was hit by an earthquake in 2015 and is slowly recovering.  Image by: Jamie Mitchell
No 2. Nepal +39.7%. The country was hit by an earthquake in 2015 and is slowly recovering. Image by: Jamie Mitchell
No 3. Iceland +39%.  Iceland is the rock star of travel destinations at the moment -   an astonishing, unique place with a tightly packed bundle of volcanoes, glaciers and fjords. Image by: Steve Oldham/GettyRF
No 3. Iceland +39%. Iceland is the rock star of travel destinations at the moment - an astonishing, unique place with a tightly packed bundle of volcanoes, glaciers and fjords. Image by: Steve Oldham/GettyRF
No 4. South Korea +30.3%. A dream destination – an engaging, welcoming place where the benefits of a high-tech nation are balanced alongside a reverence for tradition and the ways of old Asia.  Image by: 500px.
No 4. South Korea +30.3%. A dream destination – an engaging, welcoming place where the benefits of a high-tech nation are balanced alongside a reverence for tradition and the ways of old Asia. Image by: 500px.
No 5. Moldova +28.6%. No longer one of the least visited European countries, it is increasingly known more for its unspoiled countryside and superb wine tours. Image by: Shutterstock
No 5. Moldova +28.6%. No longer one of the least visited European countries, it is increasingly known more for its unspoiled countryside and superb wine tours. Image by: Shutterstock
No 6. Chile +26%
.The value of the dollar in Chile for those coming from stronger economies boosted tourism last year according to the country's economy minister. Image by:  Shutterstock
No 6. Chile +26% .The value of the dollar in Chile for those coming from stronger economies boosted tourism last year according to the country's economy minister. Image by: Shutterstock
No 7. Vietnam +24.6%.  Tourists from  China, Japan and the Republic of Korea made up 30 percent of international tourists in 2016. Image by: Getty
No 7. Vietnam +24.6%. Tourists from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea made up 30 percent of international tourists in 2016. Image by: Getty
No 8. Japan +21.8%.   The Japanese government cite the relaxation in visa requirements and increased duty free as contributing to the rise. Image by: Shutterstock.
No 8. Japan +21.8%. The Japanese government cite the relaxation in visa requirements and increased duty free as contributing to the rise. Image by: Shutterstock.
No 9. Liechtenstein +21.7%.  A lot of the increase in visitors has been attributed to the increase in hotels in the country. Image by:  Shutterstock
No 9. Liechtenstein +21.7%. A lot of the increase in visitors has been attributed to the increase in hotels in the country. Image by: Shutterstock
No 10. Kiribati +21.6%. Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, spread over 33 islands with 100,000 inhabitants, the destination is a growing favourite with intrepid nature lovers. Image by: Shutterstock
No 10. Kiribati +21.6%. Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, spread over 33 islands with 100,000 inhabitants, the destination is a growing favourite with intrepid nature lovers. Image by: Shutterstock
No 11. Kuwait +20.7%. With heavy investment in construction, the city is increasingly attracting leisure tourists on top of the high numbers of business visitors.   Image by: Shutterstock.
No 11. Kuwait +20.7%. With heavy investment in construction, the city is increasingly attracting leisure tourists on top of the high numbers of business visitors. Image by: Shutterstock.