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ABTA has revealed its latest list of destinations to watch in the year ahead, and there are certainly a few worth keeping an eye on.
The mix of destinations listed should capture the public’s imagination according to ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer.
There are a number of reasons as to why locations have been included, from now being more accessible as a result of new flight routes to featuring in a new film or hosting a major event in the year ahead.
If you’re yet to plan a getaway, or are searching for some holiday inspiration, there’s plenty to help you on your way.
A popular destination with Brits for more than 50 years, investment in recent times has transformed the region of Southern Spain. With low-cost flights from Thomas Cook, Jet2 and Ryanair, the picturesque cities of Cordoba, Seville and Grenada are within easy reach, while the climate offers some of the best weather in Europe.
2. The Azores
Described by ABTA as ‘Europe’s answer to Hawaii’, visitor numbers to the Azores leapt by a third in 2016. You’ll find dramatic volcanic landscapes and seas packed with whales and dolphins, as well as a host of activities both on land and at sea.
The 35th America’s Cup takes place in Bermuda in June and Olympic hero Ben Ainslie is set to lead Britain’s strongest challenge for years. With pink-sand beaches and turquoise waters, the islands have benefitted from a cultural mix of British, American, African, Portuguese and West Indian influences. It’s also one of the best locations in the world for diving, with its reefs packed full of shipwrecks and barracudas.
British Airways launches new direct flights in January from the UK and Chile’s capital Santiago offers a brilliant mix of old world charm, museums and nightlife. The main appeal of the country however is its countryside, as it features landscapes packed with glaciers, volcanos, fjords and the spectacular mountains of the Andes.
5. County Kerry
The latest Star Wars movie features the stunning Skellig Islands and the greenery of County Kerry is what makes it such a draw. There’s also tranquil lakes, sea cliffs and miles of exceptional coastline to explore, which when coupled with the hospitality of the Irish makes it a must-visit for 2017.
Quickly emerging as a festival hotspot, there’s plenty to Croatia that captures the imagination. While Zagreb, Split and Zadar are city break locations in their own right, the country features thousands of miles of beautiful coastline and pebbled beaches. Dubrovnik meanwhile is the star of the country’s tourism offering, while the amphitheatre in Pula and Diocletian’s palace in Split provide a reminder of its rich cultural history.
Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city, is the European City of Culture for 2017 so what better time to explore all that the country has to offer. Packed with incredible architecture, world-class cuisine and friendly cities, Denmark is commonly cited as one of the best counties to live in – so make 2017 the year to find out why.
Seventy years on from India becoming independent, the Southern coastal state of Kerala boasts a host of natural attractions including beaches, forests and wildlife. A network of backwater lagoons, estuaries, lakes and canals are best explored via a Kerala ‘houseboat’, offering one of a multitude of exceptional experiences for holiday makers.
Sandy beaches, sheer cliffs and awe-inspiring landscapes can all be found in abundance on ABTA’s ‘hot Mediterranean island of 2017’. The medieval city of Alghero provides an ideal base from which to explore, while in order to find some of the more secluded beaches, it’s better to jump aboard a boat.
10. South Africa
Visitor numbers jumped by 11% in 2016 and similar growth is expected in the coming year too. A strong exchange rate and spectacular natural scenery make the country a popular getaway. ABTA describes it as ‘a David Attenborough series in one country’, so if you’re a fan of wildlife in its natural surroundings, you know where to go.
11. USA – the southern states
Experience a different take on the USA with a visit to America’s Southern States. BA is offering direct flights to New Orleans from March, while Virgin Holidays is set to offer tours to the home of Elvis in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as Kentucky, the home of bourbon whisky that Jack Daniels, among others, calls home. From music to horse trails, you’ll find a diverse landscape with something new to discover at nearly every turn.
Last on the list of places to keep an eye on this year is Vietnam. Ravaged by conflict in times gone by, the country is now a thriving hub of activity, as its modern cities, ancient wonders, beautiful beaches and stunning mountains capture the imagination of tourists from across the globe. TUI are set to offer access to Phu Quoc Island this year while you can travel for up to 15 days without a visa before 30 June 2017, provided you have a ‘British Citizen passport (you’ll need a visa if you plan to go after that date or if you want to stay longer).
If you’re planning on going overseas in the year ahead, be sure to organise your specialist travel insurance in advance.
Date Created: 04/01/2017