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Beyond Bragging Rights: How Tourism Can Be a Developing Nation’s Secret Weapon

While countries often compete for economic bragging rights – China with manufacturing, Russia with oil, and the United Arab Emirates with its dazzling mix of oil money and tourist attractions – there’s a hidden gem waiting to be explored by developing countries: tourism’s power to boost economy and well-being.

Take for example Linda Chalmer who set out on an adventure from the United Kingdom to Africa. A trip to the wild beauty of South Africa wasn’t just about the scenery; it was a journey of self-discovery. Far from the glitz and glam, she found a newfound peace, embracing a carefree spirit that resonated with “Hakuna Matata.” That was the major word she shared with warmth via her Facebook profile, during the visit.

Travel is more than fancy resorts and bustling cityscapes. It is about diving into new environments, embracing unfamiliar cultures, and finding comfort in the unexpected. This experiential travel is a goldmine for developing nations seeking a double win: economic growth and a happier citizenry.

Imagine a train or bus journey that winds through bustling markets, serene lakes, fascinating museums, and captivating zoos – not just sightseeing, but a profound exploration of yourself. Curated experiences across six stops in a city like Kigali or Lagos could offer not just escape, but genuine connection and renewal.

But what about those who see travel as a distant dream? Look at Qatar. Once off the beaten path, they boldly seized the opportunity to host the 2022 World Cup. This event showcased their vibrant culture and warm hospitality, transforming them into a must-visit destination seemingly overnight.

Inspired by Qatar, countries like India and Saudi Arabia are rewriting their stories to attract visitors and fuel economic growth. Even with a lower budget, every developing country has an opportunity to rewrite its history, like the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. But there’s a deeper truth we must embrace: travel has the power to heal, inspire, and nourish the soul.

So Huggers, as we dream of future adventures in many countries and that long-awaited “#Hugger Pose” photo at another breathtaking event, let’s remember the profound impact travel can have on our mental well-being. By exploring new lands and cultures, we discover not just the world around us, but the hidden depths of our strength and happiness.

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