Have you booked your holiday yet? For many of us it’s the highlight of our year; something to cling on to during the cold, dark days of January and February. Maybe you haven’t decided yet where to go, or perhaps you’re weighing up your finances before you can make a commitment?
Travel destinations, like many things, fall in and out of favour. One year it’s all about the Instagram-able locations, the next we’re all heading out on the foodie trails. So where was the most popular place in 2019 and where will we all be heading this year? Read on to find out…
Southeast Asia has long been a popular destination and 2019 was no different, with 22.7 million tourists visiting Bangkok, making it the most visited city for the last four years in a row. Thailand has always enjoyed thriving tourism and it’s easy to see why. With its heady mix of white sandy beaches, rich history and culture, incredible wildlife and delicious food, it ticks a lot of boxes for many people; from young party seekers to families and older couples. Not to mention the amazing weather and the fact that your money goes a long way once you’re there.
France is also a mainstay of the top travel lists. Not only was Paris the second-most visited city in the world in 2019, with 19.1 million people visiting, but France as a whole remains a popular destination, particularly for us in the UK. Who can blame us? It’s just a hop, skip and a ferry journey over to a land with beautiful countryside, amazing food and much better weather than we have over here.
So where are the hotspots for this year? Despite increased awareness of the emissions that long-haul flights generate, it looks like many of us don’t have any plans to veto far-flung locations from our travel hitlist just yet. Slowly emerging as a tourist destination over the past few years, Oman looks set to continue its rise in popularity as people look for a more conventional Arabic experience than the likes of Dubai. It offers a rich culture, traditional charms and lush green oases mixed with dramatic desert landscapes, not to mention the odd luxury spa or two. You can mix camping under the night sky in a Bedouin tent with rock climbing, fossil hunting and enjoying some of the world’s best scuba diving.
Japan’s star is set to continue to rise, particularly as the Summer Olympics lands in Tokyo this year. However, away from the madness of the capital, travellers can find an alternative Japanese experience in Nikko, a two-hour ride away on the Shinkansen (bullet train). It’s the gateway to the Nikko National Park, a centre of Buddhist and Shinto worship for centuries and home to Toshogu, Japan’s most lavishly decorated shrine. Here you’ll find wild monkeys roaming among the UNESCO World Heritage sites, hot springs, lakes and beautiful hiking trails.
Where in the world will you be heading this year?