The Covid-19 pandemic brought a standstill to billions of lives in ways that cannot be imagined. However, people adapted to the new lifestyle and now probably we all are glued to our screens and are doing our work from home or browsing through the long list of shows or movies on OTT. Besides we are now meeting people, undertaking classes and tours- virtually. But can experiential reality really be replaced by the new ‘virtual’ reality?
Thankfully, with the genesis of new normal and tourists finally gearing up to travel, the tourism industry is beginning to show an upward trend. And going by Dalai Lama’s words, “Once a year, go somewhere you have never been before,” occasionally, one must undertake a journey to discover the charms of a destination and in the process oneself.
Safety comes first
The Thomas Cook India and SOTC Travel joint survey, Third Holiday Readiness Report (June 2021), released in June this year, indicates emerging consumer behaviours and trends for travel when restrictions ease.The survey reveals that 69 per cent of the respondents are keen to resume travel in 2021; while 31 per cent of respondents would undertake travelling in 2022. According to the survey, personal health and safety will be a key consideration for 70 per cent of respondents. Furthermore, 66 per cent are willing to spend additional money towards health and safety.
In the current era, as safety is a key concern among travellers, here is a list of top 10 safe cities across the world according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s ‘The Safe City Index 2021’ where one can travel from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport and embark on an exploratory journey once again.
Safe Cities worth exploring
1. Singapore (Safe city Index #3)
Also known as the lion city, Singapura (or Singapore) is located at the southernmost tip of the Malay peninsula. With an equatorial climate, Singapore is a must-visit city on your bucket list. With vibrant history and diverse ethnic quarters to discover, it is one of the easiest cities to navigate in Southeast Asia. Some opulent sites one should look out for are Bay East Garden, CloudForest Dome – World’s tallest indoor waterfall, National Orchid Garden, Singapore Zoo – also known as the world’s best rainforest zoo, Orchard Road, Clark Quay, Universal Studios, Merlion Park, to name a few.
2. Tokyo (Safe city Index #5)
Home to the imperial palace and ancient culture, Tokyo, is one of the most advanced and technologically smart cities in the world in terms of infrastructure and design. Tokyo is not only known for its scenic beauty, continental cuisine but it is also known for rich music and theatre. Some must-visit places are- Imperial Palace, Shop at the Ginza district, Sensō-ji Temple, Ueno Park and zoo, Meiji Shrine. If you want to hit two birds with a stone, then look into the excellent Kyoto Rail Tour by Bullet Train from Tokyo excursion. This super-fast bullet train passes by the spectacular Mount Fuji on the way. Once in Kyoto, you can see the historic city’s many top attractions, including the Heian Shrine and Kioyomizu-dera Temple. If shopping, entertainment, and cultural tourism are what you’re planning about on your next trip, then Tokyo is just the right choice.
3. Amsterdam (Safe city Index #6)
With over 40 museums, numerous theatres, entertainment venues, universities, academic institutes, Amsterdam is one of the world’s emerging cultural hubs. With picturesque bridges that link the city’s 90 islands, it is dissected by 160 canals (Grachten) while being surrounded by some 6,750 buildings dating from the 16th to 18th century. Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, Oude Kerk, Van Gogh Museum, Vondelpark, Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Rembrandt Square, The Begijnhof, are some of the landmark locations one must invest their time in Amsterdam.
4. Frankfurt (Safe city Index #13)
Also sometimes known as the ‘Manhattan’ or ‘Chicago in the main’, the impressive skyline is dominated by the great cluster of high-rise buildings which has a distinct feel of North America. It has been time and again nominated as the best city to live and do business in. This global city has also long been an important center for cultural and tourism activities. Some worth visiting places are- Römerberg: Frankfurt’s Old Town Center, Städel Museum, Museumsufer, the Palm Garden, Senckenberg Natural History Museum, and the Hauptwache. One must also taste the famous Apfelwein – Apple Wine, Grüne Soße – Green sauce, Frankfurter Wurst- a local sausage made of smoked pork, Handkäs mit Musik-sour milk cheese. Escape to the land of skyscrapers for a distinct experience.
5. London (Safe city Index #15)
From the modern London Eye to the historic Tower of London, from Buckingham Palace to Big Ben, London is nothing short of surprises. One of England’s most favourite tourist destinations is a homeland for all tea lovers.Britain’s capital city is still a host of eccentric art and music and offers some of the best and greatest concentrations of art in various forms. Some of the most iconic must-visit places are Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the parliament, the national museum, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. Head to the city of dreams.
6. Paris (Safe city Index #23)
The city of love is home to one of the finest pieces of architecture one can see in Europe. One may instantly fall in love with the city and its assorted dessert selections. Each neighborhood there tells a distinctive story, be it the ancient Notre Dame, the magnificent Musée du Louvre, or the lover’s Eiffel tower. The Latin Quarter has a breath-taking view of the medieval pedestrian streets and narrow alleyways which one might instantly post on their Instagram feed. Tourists are in for a delight at the small family-owned restaurants and cafes that serve some of the most delicious pastries and macrons you might have.
7. Abu Dhabi (Safe city Index #31)
This very industrious city located by a very beautiful waterside location is the residence of some of the richest people in the world. This place is suitable for all beach lovers as it has a coastline rimmed with beaches. It is one of the best places to visit in the UAE as one can enjoy the sun and sand combined with a futuristic city. Some attractions of Abu Dhabi are its Global Culture & Art Collection at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Eastern Mangroves, Saadiyat Island, Ferrari World, Warner Bros Studios, desert dunes, and Yas Waterworld.
8. Dubai (Safe city Index #35)
The glamorous and glitzy Dubai is a must-visit place for anyone who wants to explore the UAE. The exotic food, while enjoying the scenic view of the desert city from high-raised towers, and shopping some of the famous labels across the globe should be on everyone’s to-do list. Some attractions one must look out for are the very famous Burj Khalifa, Al-Fahidi-Fort, strolling through Sheikh Zayed Road, exploring the Traditional Architecture at Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum House, gallivanting Dubai Creek & Al Seef District and Souks of Deira.
9. Delhi (Safe city Index #48)
People visiting Delhi are always awestruck by its diverse scenic beauty. From the ancient Mughal forts to the modern skyscrapers, the leading populous city has plentiful things to do. One could go on a shopping spree at the very famous Sarojini Nagar or Chandini Chowk or can go bonkers on the plethora of street food available from across the country such as Gol gappe, Momos, Pav Bhaji, or even the world-famous Mughlai Biryani. Some must-visit places are The Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi Memorial, Jantar Mantar observatory, and the famous Rajpath.
10. Riyadh (Safe city Index #49)
This capital city of Saudi Arabia is also the largest city in the middle east. It houses some of the world’s most luxurious malls where tourists can shop-till-they-drop while enjoying the sky bridge connecting towers across the city. The most authentic Saudi Arabian Food available here makes it the haven for all food lovers across the globe. Some must-visit places are Al Masmak Fort, National Museum, Deera Square, and Riyadh Zoo.