- (Photo: Reuters)
A recent assessment performed by an online travel search website has found an increase in interest for destinations thought to be safe from the Mayan apocalypse, or the Dec. 21, 2012, predicted day of doom said to be based on the Mayan calendar.
Travel search website Skyscanner has reported a 41 percent increase in recent searches for one-way tickets to the remote farming town of Bugarach, located in Southern France, as well as a 30 percent increase in searches for a one-way ticket to the Turkish town of Şirince, located in the Izmir Province.
Both Bugarach and Şirince hold significance to those hoping to find shelter and safety from the predicted Mayan apocalypse.
Şirince is believed by some to be near the location where, according to the Roman Catholic faith, the Virgin Mary ascended into heaven, and therefore doomsday believers are seeking solace in this small hillside town.
Bugarach, on the other hand, is believed by some to be the home of extraterrestrials, who are residing in a cavity located inside the town's mountain, Pic de Bugarach.
When the apocalypse arrives, some believe the aliens will escape Earth via an UFO, and hopefully take a few lucky humans with them.
The French mountain peak has already attracted a fair amount of campers waiting for Dec. 21, but the peak reportedly will be been closed on the actual predicted doomsday to prevent pandemonium.
Although many seem to be flocking to these supposed safe-havens in preparation for Dec. 21, Skyscanner spokeswoman Victoria Bailie contends that the high volume of flight searches on the day after the apocalypse, Dec. 22, proves that not all believe the world is set to end.
"We were surprised to see how big an increase there has been in searches for flights to the South of France and to Izmir in Turkey leading up to the 21st December: the date of the Mayan Prophecy," Bailie said in a press release.
"Although the fact that we've seen the highest number of flight searches all year for flights on the following day suggests that not everyone is convinced the end of the world really is nigh," she added.
In contrast to those seeking safety on Dec. 21, Mexican government officials are predicting a surge in tourism to the country's Mayan region during the month of December, as many are using the predicted apocalypse as an excuse to celebrate.
The belief that the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012, comes from what experts say are misguided interpretations of a stone tablet found in Tortuguero, Mexico, which designated this date as the end of the earth's 5,125-year-long cycle, according to the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar.