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Before and After: 5 Vacation Destination Makeovers

Whether it was due to a bad reputation, a war, a natural disaster, or a corrupt government some destinations fell off the metaphorical map for tourists. While some remain in travel purgatory permanently, others claw their way back into public consciousness with smart marketing, tourism-focused public works projects, or an end to local strife. Check out these five destinations on the rise that were once written off.


Tourism in the Philippines has fluctuated in the past 50 years, but has been increasing steadily since the dawn of the 21st century. The Philippines attracts travelers with its diverse natural beauty. Visit the rain forest in Bohol, relax on the beaches, or explore the mountains. Take advantage of the waters of Palawan for diving or island hop your way through paradise. Enjoy a shopper’s oasis in Manila. Plan your trip in January with the Sinulog Festival in mind in the historical Cebu City and take part in the local festivities. Whatever you decide to do, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.”

When to go: Hot season is from March through May, rainy season starts around June and continues through November, and the cold season is from December to February.


This region is quickly becoming a popular tourist destination. National provisions to improve Montenegro and bolster sustainable tourism have added to the appeal of this unique region. Between the coastal beauty of beaches like Velika Plaza and mountain settlements in Zabljak, there is a lot to discover in Montenegro. Thrill seekers head to the slopes in the Northern Region or down to the Tara River Gorge for rafting. Step back in time when you wander through age old towns and fortresses and stick around for the nightlife.

When to go: High season is July and August. Varies through distinct regions. The best time for skiing is generally between December and March.


Thailand has experienced a stable atmosphere and an influx of travelers for the past half century, especially in the past 10 years. Affordable and intriguing, a trip to Thailand offers local flavor and adventure without breaking the bank. Take in the serenity observing Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai or the picturesque landscapes of Phuket. Kayak or get up close with sea life in the calm waters of Phang nga. For a change of pace, head north to visit the bustling city of Bangkok. Celebrate Songkran, the Thai New Year, in April or plan your trip in November for Loy Krathong.

When to go: High season is from October to February

Rio de Janeiro

Gaining attention with the 2014 World Cup and the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games, Rio has stepped up its game to welcome travelers from all over the world. The city’s current Morar Carioca (Municipal Plan) has developed infrastructure, reduced crime, and created employment opportunities for locals. This Cidade Maravihosa boasts rain forests, mountains, beaches, and altogether spectacular views. Don’t miss Rio’s vibrant Carnival celebration in mid-February.

When to go: High season is from December through March


On the mend since the tragedy of Fukushima, Japan’s tourism has turned around and gained an increase in visitors, especially in the past year. The weakened Yen has been a major draw to tourists visiting from other countries. There has also been a strong government focus on increasing tourism, encouraging travelers to return to sites like the Himeji Castle, the ancient city of Kyoto, Tokyo, Mount Fuji, and ski resorts such as Niseko and Hokkaido. The efficient railroad system in Japan makes travel much easier. Immerse yourself in ancient tradition or modern innovation.

When to go: Japan has a diverse climate, therefore the weather varies. Many travelers prefer to visit between September and November or March through May.