29 destinations to visit in 2009
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Tasmania( Clive Rose / Getty Images )
Why it's a hot ticket in 2009: A relatively unspoiled island, Tasmania is a prime destination for eco-tourists. Protected areas such as forests, parks and reserves comprise roughly a third of the island. UNESCO recognizes the Tasmanian Wilderness as a World Heritage Site. Australia's smallest state, the island's size makes its sights more accessible. Popular activities on the island include hiking, biking and other outdoors activities.
With its vast tracts of protected land, Tasmania is home to many unusual animals, including the Tasmanian devil and the now extinct Tasmanian tiger. Since 2006, a facial cancer has wiped out half of the devil's wild population. The disease has driven the bear-like marsupial, popularized by the cartoon character, the Tasmanian Devil, to the precipice of extinction.
-- Jason La
Pictured: Port Arthur, Tasmania