"Where would you go if you could go anywhere?" was the question posed by the New York Times travel editor Amy Virshup to members of the Times Travel desk late last summer at the kickoff discussion for the 2020 edition of the Times' annual 52 Places to Go list.
Research, discussions and debates followed as the team whittled down a long list of suggestions, polls and opinions from contributors, readers, correspondents and travel pros related to destinations that, Virshup said, were relevant, compelling and answered the question: why this place, why this year.
The final choices rested on the two themes that emerged during the four months of discussion: sustainability and the pull of history.
The destinations that made the cut reflect one or both of these themes and include two Caribbean destinations among a global potpourri that includes the German town of Oberammergau, the country of Uganda, Sabah on the island of Borneo, Egypt, Caesarea in Israel and Richmond, Va.
No. 2 on the list is the British Virgin Islands, a destination hard hit by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, but now solidly on the road to recovery with resorts reopening and expanding, several with an environmental focus.
No. 22 is the Bahamas.
Although only two of its islands, Grand Bahama and the Abacos, were directly hit by Hurricane Dorian last September, tourism throughout the Bahamas chain took a nosedive in the aftermath.
"The Bahamas, where close to half the economy depends on tourism, needs visitors' dollars to shore up critical rebuilding efforts," according to the description and summary of the destination.
Inclusion on this prestigious list this year should see those numbers ratchet up and awareness of and tourism to both destinations take off.