Exploring the future of holidays could lead us to many destinations, the most outlandish probably being Outer Space.

In fact, there have already been seven space tourists. And Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has convinced 500 others, including the actor Ashton Kutcher, to fork out $200,000 to experience a few minutes of weightlessness.

Back on earth the realities of recession mean most of us will be booking less extravagant holidays – not more – for the next few years at least.

Factor in a responsible attitude to climate change and I should probably be writing about camping in the back garden rather than holidays involving long-haul flights.

Certainly interest is growing in travel that’s more about the journey than the destination. If you’re planning a walking or cycling break, why not set off from your front door rather than driving or flying for hours to do it somewhere else?

But the truth is that while we wrestle with the eco-credentials of our summer holiday, the world is about to experience a tidal surge of hungry new tourists as the global middle class explodes.

By 2030, another two billion people will have joined the well-off in China, India and elsewhere. They’ll need a holiday, and it won’t be a staycation they’re after.

So while they flood into the classic destinations of Paris-London-New York (at least, we hope they’ll want to come and spend their money in the old world), where will we all go?

My money is on countries that you may never have associated with tourism: Colombia, Burma and Somaliland.

For 20 years Colombia was a byword for narco-violence and the most famous Colombian was probably Pablo Escobar, leader of the notorious Medellin drug cartel.

The murder rate was sky-high and the idea of going there on holiday was lunacy.

As recently as 2003, eight backpackers were kidnapped while trekking to the fabled Lost City.

Today the army patrols the area and hikers have returned. Medellin, too, has cleaned up its act. The City of Eternal Spring is now billed as one of the two must-visit cities for tourists, along with Cartagena’s candy-coloured colonial old town.

Some tourist itineraries still suggest giving the once-infamous capital, Bogota, a miss – but that’s only because there are far greater treats to pack into your fortnight, such as Tayrona National Parkwith its Caribbean beaches and jungle trails.

Burma, also fabled for its jungles, has been off the tourist radar for decades for very different reasons.

Ruled by the military since a coup in 1962, it was the subject of a remarkably successful travel boycott.

Few tourists wanted to be seen supporting a regime that so brutally suppressed peaceful protesters like monks.

But significant progress has been made and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent 15 years under house arrest, now has a seat in parliament.

The situation remains fragile but it looks like Burma could be on the road to becoming a popular holiday destination.

Ms Suu Kyi’s party even issued a statement in 2011 welcoming respectful visitors.

Tour operators have leapt at the chance to introduce their clients to the country’s colonial architecture, Buddhist temples and fishing villages on stilts.

Justin Francis, founder of responsible travel.com which now offers holidays inBurma, said small-scale tourism supporting local businesses could be a force for good. But he warned that unrestricted mass tourism could easily become a “juggernaut of exploitation”.

This is a scenario unlikely to trouble our final destination for many years.

Somaliland, in the Horn of Africa, is the country that doesn’t exist.

If images of child soldiers and pirates have filled your head, you won’t be alone. But you’re thinking ofSomalia, whose capital,Mogadishu, was once described as the most dangerous city on earth.

According to the UN, Somaliland is part of Somalia, but it declared independence from its dysfunctional neighbour in 1991 and is a well-functioning democracy.

True, there’s not a whole lot to see, but if the rest of the world acknowledged its existence it could attract investment to develop its assets.

A short drive from the dusty capital, Hargeisa, are the Neolithic cave paintings of Las Geel. Keep going north and you’ll reach the port of Berbera, with its Ottoman architecture, scuba diving and beaches. Inland, the countryside is spectacular.

The first guidebook was published this year. Granted it says you must be accompanied everywhere by an armed guard. But this, says the author, is more a precaution.

If you’re game, a holiday in Somaliland will certainly earn you the respect of friends who are still easyjetting off to yesterday’s destinations.

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Written by Elizabeth Hopkirk // Follow Elizabeth on  Twitter // Elizabeth's  Website

Elizabeth is a journalist with the architecture magazine Building Design. She has also worked for the Evening Standard and Radio 4 and reported from Rwanda for the Sunday Telegraph. Recent holiday destinations have included Congo and Afghanistan.

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