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President Barack Obama's historic recent visit to Myanmar is helping to generate interest. Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is pictured.
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BY BETH J. HARPAZ
AP Travel Editor
NEW YORK--Myanmar, Marseille, New Zealand and Gettysburg are all on the travel radar for 2013, thanks to new tours, events and anniversaries. But the best pitch for travel in the new year might just be coming from Ireland, which is running ads "calling all Flynns, O'Malleys and Schweizenbergs" to the Emerald Isle
Here are details on these and other places, events and travel trends for 2013.
IRELAND'S THE GATHERING
"It's a citizen-led initiative to attract people who are Irish-born, Irish-bred or Irish in spirit to join us in 2013," said Bernard McMullan of Tourism Ireland. "It's almost become a competition where one county, town or village tries to have as quirky a gathering as the next."
More than 2,000 events are already planned, including events for redheads and left-handers as well as reunions based on family names and clans.
Arabella Bowen, executive editorial director of Fodor's Travel, is one of more than 44 million Americans (including President Obama) with an Irish ancestor in the family tree. "There are Irish people all over the world," she said. "It will be great fun being able to connect with others going back for this event. It's like an entire year of St. Patrick's Day parties."
President Barack Obama's historic recent visit to Myanmar--the first ever by a sitting U.S. president--is adding to already heated-up interest in the country, which has only fully opened to tourism in the last few years. Fodor's Bowen says it's especially attractive to people who are already well traveled and seeking that next unknown destination.
Many tour companies are adding Myanmar trips due to demand and the U.S. Tour Operators Association's active members named Myanmar No. 1 on a list of "off-the-beaten path" countries they foresee becoming popular in 2013.
New Zealand received a huge boost in tourism from fans of "The Lord of the Rings" movie trilogy, and the release of the new movie "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is focusing attention on the destination once again. All four of the movies were filmed in New Zealand.