According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Brits made 70.8 million visits overseas in 2016, with 49% of all trips taking them to either Spain, France, Italy, the Republic of Ireland, or the USA.
Spain was named the UK’s favourite holiday destination by a landslide, accounting for 14.7 million overseas trips and over a fifth of all international travel in 2016. Businessinsider compiled a list of 10 of the countries that were least visited by UK residents in 2016, according to the latest Travel Trends report of the ONS.
10. Burkina Faso — 975 visits.
Despite not having many major tourist attractions, Burkina Faso’s wildly varied music and arts scene makes for a truly individual West African holiday experience.
Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso are must-see cities for the music-loving adventurer. Wild jazz bars and intimate live music venues are open late into the evening. Locals known for their welcoming mentality make each party feel like a private function with tourists as the guests of honour.
If late nights and loud music aren’t your style, head to the peaceful Pendjari National Park and Nature Reserve to spy cheetahs and elephants lazily enjoying the African sunshine.
9. British Virgin Islands — 886 visits.
With its protected waters and excellent port and dock facilities across the islands, the British Virgin Islands is one of the best sailing locations in the world, according to the Telegraph.
After the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma in September, the nation’s tourism bureau is encouraging tourists to continue visiting — and the trade is needed now more than ever.
Many private hotels are only accessible by boat, adding to the “hidden getaway” feel of the islands. Be sure to head to Loblolly Bay for fresh lobster and the best spot to watch wild flamingoes come and go.
8. Paraguay — 839 visits.
The perfect South American country for an authentic regional experience that escapes the usual tourist trail, Paraguay offers vast natural wilderness, rich indigenous histories, and stunning colonial sites.
Head to the nation’s more developed cities, including the capital Asunción, for gorgeous piazzas, boulevards, and glamour. Alternatively, branch out into the suburban and rural districts for exotic forests, sleepy colonial settlements, and sensational wildlife.
7. Chad — 725 visits.
With almost all locals living rurally and only one major city in the whole country, life in Chad is about embracing and bearing witness to the country’s awe-inspiring natural elements.
The Sahara Desert and Lake Chad are both must-see sites when the country is safe for travelling visitors — which, unfortunately, it currently isn’t. Once stability resumes, ancient cave paintings in the Sahara’s caverns become a favourite amongst visitors.
6. Kiribati — 620 visits.
Located just south of Hawaii, Kiribati’s islets and atolls are largely overlooked by British travellers despite their idyllic landscape, clear waters, and the plethora of water sports opportunities and wildlife sanctuaries.
Head to Kiritimati for a prime surfing spot, and the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to marvel at the incredible array of sea life that the Pacific Ocean is home to.
5. Armenia — 527 visits.
Armenia is one of the world’s oldest countries, with the extensive history to prove it.
Zorats Karer, also known as “The Stone Army,” is one of the country’s oldest landmarks. The scattered rocks have many legends surrounding them, including a story which claims that the rocks are the ruins of stone houses built by giants for their dwarf labourers. Another legend claims that an entire army is buried beneath the circle. Whichever tale you believe, the circle has to be seen to be believed.
4. Togo — 518 visits.
Togo’s melting pot of cultures and backdrops makes for a varied and diverse holiday destination too often overlooked by British travellers.
Head to the lively, party-centric capital of Lomé for eccentric nightlife, the Grand Marché bazaar, Fetish Market, and stunning beaches. There’s also the Koutammakou settlement — home to 17th century clay huts that resemble a fortress on the side of the hill from afar.
3. Benin — 357 visits.
Villages on stilts, historic voodoo culture, and herbal remedies all add to modern-day Benin. Each settlement and village has its own distinct feel, so travelling around to get a greater understanding of the nation as a whole is encouraged.
Parc National de la Pendjari, a wilderness reserve in the north, has been hailed by Lonely Planet as one of the best places in Africa to see the local wildlife. Lions, elephants, and cheetahs are among the hundreds of species that call the park home.
2. Swaziland — 298 visits.
Despite only attracting 298 British visitors last year, Swaziland is arguably the best nation in the world when it comes to the quality and quantity of its wilderness reserves.
Trek to Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary for a breathtaking view of “Heaven Valley” and Nyonyane Mountain, with opportunities to camp onsite. Alternatively, Hlane Royal National Park is known for its lions and storks. Once the sun goes down and the reserves close their gates, head to the gold-mining-town of Piggs Peak for a night at the casino.
1. San Marino — 223 visits.
The least visited country in the world by UK tourists, with only 223 visitors in 2016, is San Marino. This autonomous microstate located in the Italian mountains has a population of only 33,000 according to World Bank.
Visitors don’t need a passport to travel through San Marino, and many tourists like to pick up luxury goods in the region due to the lower levels of tax on many items.
Must-sees include the capital — also called San Marino, made up of a medieval walled town with picturesque winding streets complete with cobblestones and small-town charm — and the Three Towers — fortress-like turrets dating from the 11th century.