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In a world where overtourism is becoming an increasing challenge in popular destinations, travelers have decided that they intend to prioritize more nature and fewer crowds in the coming years.
A variety of reports have shown as much. For instance, Virtuoso's 2020 Luxe Report revealed that "untouristed and unexpected" will be a key tourism trend for 2020 with travelers saying they are attracted to remote and unspoiled places.
Booking.com's 2020 Travel Predictions study included similar conclusions, finding that 54 percent of travelers are interested in visiting lesser-known locales next year in the name of reducing overtourism around the world.
"As more people around the globe are attaining the means to travel, rapid tourism growth is putting tremendous pressure on many of the planet's most popular sites. The impact on natural places is of special concern," Ted Martens, Natural Habitat Adventures vice president, Marketing & Sustainability, told TravelPulse.
With such developments in mind, Natural Habitat Adventures has just announced a new slate of trips for 2020 that are specifically designed to take travelers to less-discovered landscapes.
The company, which is a conservation travel partner with the World Wildlife Fund, is introducing five new trips to lesser-known parts of the Canadian Rockies, Yellowstone National Park, Norway, the Dolomites, and England's Cotswold Hills.
"There's a reason why these destinations are so popular-they're incredibly beautiful-but they're also overwhelmed with travelers in certain areas," said Martens. "We make sure our guests don't miss coveted highlights, but we also want to reveal less-visited, emerging locations instead of focusing merely on the most crowded main attractions."
The new trips from Natural Habitat Adventures pair environmental exploration with unique accommodations, while also aiming to showcase spectacular scenery and wildlife. Transportation will include private boat, carbon-offset helicopter, and cable car. There will also be forays on foot to uncover local flora and fauna with naturalist expedition leaders.
For those not familiar with Natural Habitat Adventures, the company has been one of the trailblazers in the travel industry shift toward more green, sustainable operations. The small group tour operator did away with single-use water bottles on its trips 10 years ago, long before it was the trendy thing to do. It also banned plastic straws on its trips well in advance of the rest of the herd.
And in keeping with its commitment to conservation travel, Natural Habitat Adventures' 2020 trips will be 100 percent carbon-neutral. The company will fully offset travelers' flights booked for each trip.
If you're among those seeking conservation over crowds next year, here's are just some of the options for 2020.
Yellowstone: Adventure Under the Big Sky
Home to wolves, grizzlies, bison and legendary volcanic geology, Yellowstone and its surrounding regions are iconic Americana-and a mecca for wildlife lovers since becoming the world's first national park in 1872.
On this weeklong small-group safari, participants enjoy all Yellowstone's highlights before stealing away into the park's remote routes and hidden parts of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem outside the park boundary.
See rush hour at its finest by negotiating herds of buffalo from Nat Hab's custom-crafted North American Safari Trucks. Elude the crowds with sunrise wolf tracking in the secluded Lamar Valley, and join National Geographic wildlife photographer Dan Hartman for a private gallery visit to view his work chronicling Yellowstone's wolves.
Experience the geothermal phenomena of famous Old Faithful geyser before heading outside the park for some rustic luxury at a quiet lodge on the Gallatin River in Big Sky, Montana.
The Cotswolds: Exploring English Nature
Step into a bucolic world of ancient forests, rose-trimmed cottages, and royal gardens during a week exploring the pastoral Cotswold Hills. As Britain's largest designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Cotswolds are a top day-trip destination for London tourists, beloved for the area's medieval villages and Downton Abbey-esque manor estates.
Natural Habitat Adventures' locally-led 12-person tour takes a more intimate and immersive approach, exploring wildflower meadows and hardwood forests away from the motorcoach crowds.
Hike estate land with conservationist National Trust rangers, meet farming families whose agricultural practices go back centuries and visit Highgrove House and Gardens - the country home of the Prince of Wales. In the evenings, stay in elegant 17th- and 18th-century manor houses still surrounded by unspoiled woodlands once only available to the British upper crust.
Includes accommodations, services of Expedition Leader(s) and local guides, all meals from, most gratuities, airport transfers in-destination, all activities and entrance fees, all taxes, permits and service fees.
Remote Peaks & Meadows of the Canadian Rockies
A timeless emblem of untamed wilderness, the glacier-sculpted Canadian Rockies are home to a confluence of people and wildlife. While Banff, Lake Louise and Yoho National Park are main draws for many, Nat Hab's naturalist-guided Rocky Mountain experience couples these famed highlights with a remote immersion into pristine wildland in the neighboring Bugaboo Range.
Visit Banff, Canada's first national park, and spend two nights at postcard-perfect Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Hike the forested shores of Yoho National Park's Emerald Lake, then take a carbon-offset chopper ride into a land where grizzlies outnumber people.
Heli-hiking with expert naturalist guides through alpine meadows in the secluded Bugaboos, track elk, bear and bighorn sheep, and sleep where elegance meets wilderness at a fly-in luxury lodge.
Italian Alps: South Tyrol and the Dolomites
See a different side of Italy via cable car, private boat and gentle hikes with Natural Habitat Adventures' exploration of the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of alpine pastures, evergreen forests, rugged peaks, and fairytale villages. Discover a land of edelweiss, glacier-carved lakes and native alpine fauna with a certified Italian Mountain Guide and naturalist Expedition Leader who are experts on the region's geology, wildlife, and natural history.
Ascend 9,114-foot Mount Lagazuoi via cable car, hike around Tre Cime, discover the less-traveled Brenta Dolomites, then descend to the turquoise waters, olive orchards and citrus groves of Lago de Garda where a private speedboat tour awaits.
Conclude with an overnight at a historic villa in Italy's Valipocella region for a private wine tasting highlighting the most famous local varietal-Chianti. In the evenings, kick back in chalet-chic comfort with some supreme accommodations, including a charming family-run hotel, a 7,000-foot high lodge with sweeping views of the Dolomites, and a 5-star alpine modernist mountain retreat.
Norway's Fjords & Fjells
A wild kingdom of towering peaks, glacier-fed rivers, and fjords flanked by craggy shorelines, Norway's labyrinth of coastal inlets has recently become popular with cruise lines, but Nat Hab's new sojourn into central Norway's coast and interior aims to elude the crowds.
Search for native musk ox and reindeer on the tundra in Dovrefjell National Park, board a high-speed Zodiac into the Atlantic to visit Grasoyane seal colony, and kayak the secluded Hjorundfjord, a "secret" fjord within the Sunnmore Alps-and off-limits to big cruise ships.
Join naturalist Expedition Leaders for a hike in Amotan Gorge, a little-seen spot home to some of the tallest waterfalls in the world. In remote Norangsfjord, retreat to one of Europe's most treasured small hotels, a 30-room haven favored by royalty, aristocrats, authors, and adventurers since 1891.
Mia Taylor is an award-winning journalist who has two decades of experience. Most recently she worked as a staff writer for...
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