The 2020 Emerging Destination Awards

Next year, don't be an overtourist. Travel to these  hidden gems instead.

Let's Fix Overtourism:

Overtourism is a complex problem. We have some ideas on how to fix it - starting with promoting emerging destinations. Read the below perspectives or visit our Overtoursim Resource Center to join in the conversation.

Meet Our Judges

Our winning destinations were selected by regional panels consisting of the world's top travel bloggers. Click the tabs to meet our judges for each region:

  • Oceania
  • Latin America
  • ASIA
  • Nominating Comm.

Minority Nomad
Erick Prince

Erick is a travel journalist and photographer on a journey to become the first African American to visit every country (he's been to 93 to date). He writes about his travels at his site, Minority Nomad.

Nomadic Matt
Matt Kepnes

Matt is the New York Times best-selling author of How to Travel the World on $50 a Day. Through his site Nomadic Matt, he has helped millions of travelers travel cheaper, better, and longer. 

Adventorous Kate
Kate McCulley

The author of the celebrated solo female travel blog, Kate has been to over 80 countries around the world and, among other accolades, was named by Forbes in 2017 as one of the 10 most influential travelers in the world. 

Extra Pack of Peanuts
Travis Sherry

A serial entrepreneur and world traveler, Travis hosts the popular travel podcast Extra Pack of Peanuts. Known as "Rick Steves for the new generation", he teaches listeners how to travel more with less.

The Blonde Abroad
Kiersten Rich

Kiersten is a California native who has traveled to over 70 countries in the 6 years since she left her corporate finance job. She is the founder of The Blonde Abroad, a go-to resource for solo and female travel around the world. 

Murad and Nataly Osmann

What started as a sweet but simple idea is now a global phenomenon: Nataly pulling Murad by the hand towards some of the most iconic places on the planet has become the basis for the FollowMeTo movement. 

My Life's a Movie
Alyssa Ramos

Alyssa is a solo female adventure traveler who has been to 85+ countries and all 7 continents. Through her social media and blog, My Life's a Travel Movie, she chronicles her incredible experiences and inspires others to travel.

How Did We Pick These Winners?

Our curated list of the best 2020 Emerging Destinations is the result of months of collaboration with stakeholders across the travel space.


Step 1: Nominations by Governments and Tourism Boards

National and regional tourism boards around the world submit nominations for the top emerging destinations on each continent. This year nearly 100 participated from all around the world. We also solicit a small handful of nominations from our Nominating Committee to ensure regional balance.


Step 2: Vetting 

We vet the nominees to ensure they fit the definition of an emerging destination - one which an average American traveler would probably not already be considering visiting and which has enough capacity to handle additional tourism without becoming overtouristed. 


Step 3: Winners Selected by Our Judges

We round up some of the top travel influencers and bloggers on the planet to act as Judges. We have way too many nominations to ask each judge to review them all, so we divide the work into regional panels. The judges vote for their top choices among the nominees, drawing on their collective experience, knowledge of the travel industry, and their own expert perceptions about what destinations are appealing to them in cases where they've not personally visited a nominee. 


Step 4: Announcement of Winners (Nov 2019)

We announce the 30 winning destinations. 


Step 5: Readers Vote (Nov - Dec 2019)

After the articles are shared, readers vote for their top pick on each continent. The final list of our Readers' Choice winners are released just before the new year of 2020. Click here to check out last year's winners

Explore Last Year's Awards:

Or Watch this Video About Our 2019 Readers Choice 

Winner for North America: Valladolid, Mexico 

About Travel Lemming 

I founded Travel Lemming to highlight the world's emerging travel destinations. Our mission is to encourage travelers to think beyond the big name destinations and to explore the lesser-know, but still incredible, destinations that this world has to offer. 

Follow along on Facebook or Instagram.


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