Exotic Travel Trends: Tanzania Hot, Lebanon Not

PHOTO: Bookings to Tanzania have nearly doubled over the last year, with travelers taking advantage of lower fares, according to CheapOair.com

Americans looking to get way, way out of Dodge are showing renewed interest in exotic locales that have not always been perceived as popular travel destinations.

Online travel agency CheapOair.com recently released data showing a nearly 50 percent increase in bookings to Tanzania compared to last year, followed closely by Turkey, Malaysia, Vietnam and Ecuador. The spike conveniently coincides with a significant dip in fares to each location.

"In the States, we've only got a couple of weeks vacation each year and, if the price is not dramatically different from something closer, people figure: Why not go?" said Chris Cuddy, chief commercial officer at CheapOair.

But money isn't the only motivator. There is also the appeal of the unknown.

"Each of these five destinations have all got some combination of culture and physical geography, or ancient language and striking landscape, that makes people think they're 'really' going away for a trip," Cuddy said. "We don't have a Tanzania equivalent in the U.S."

Round trip flights from New York City to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, are being offered at $1,112 on Turkish Airlines, which is also selling trips to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for $889, according to CheapOair.com figures.

Still, not all far-off destinations are feeling the love.

Owing to political tensions, countries bordering Syria are seeing a drop-off in visitor interest, according to hotel search site Trivago.com.

Site representatives recently released data showing a 79 percent decrease in travel interest to Lebanon compared to September 2012. Likewise, Cyprus, Israel and Jordan are exhibiting search drops of more than 30 percent, the report noted.

But for the adventurous traveler, this could be a good thing. The average hotel price for rooms in Beirut also have sunk -- to $164 per night, according to Trivago.

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