- Havana, Cuba
With the opening of relations between the US and Cuba, the colourful Cuban culture of Havana is going to be at the top of everyone’s bucket lists (accommodation for 2016 already selling out!). Sales to Cuba tripled during 2015 as travellers rush to see the Caribbean Island before the hordes arrive. Discussions are underway for allowing regularly scheduled flights between the two countries and Mastercard has already partnered with a Florida bank to make ATM transactions work in Cuba. Dine in a paladare, explore the colonial alleyways or take a classic selfie with the antique American cars that line the streets.
- Isfahan, Iran
Iran is preparing itself for a ‘tsunami’ of foreign tourists in 2016 according to Vice-President Masoud Soltanifar and Iranian officials have quoted an expected “20 million tourists by 2025”. The forecast comes as global relations improve with the Middle Eastern country, meaning Iran’s Islamic architecture, uncrowded beaches and traditional Persian cuisine will likely top the list of next years must see destinations.
- Mumbai, India
With India’s economy expecting to keep booming in 2016, it only makes sense that the country’s powerhouse of finance, film, food and festivals will see a lift in tourism. The ‘Maximum City’ is being smart with its buck, investing its money in ways that will boost its travel sector; the airport has a new terminal, an air-conditioned monorail is now ready to ride, and next year the world’s tallest residential building will be unveiled. For those needing a break from the lively city, simply duck down to the hippie haven of Goa.
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
If your still regretting missing the Football World Cup in 2014? Never fear, because Brazil will be centre stage with the 2016 summer Olympics this August. While a trip for the Olympics seems like the ultimate for sports fanatics, expect Brazil – and the green coast of Rio Verde especially – to be trending before and after the games as well.
- Quito, Ecuador
Ecuador is fast becoming a hotspot for globe-trotters seeking an ‘authentic’ adventure travel experience, but also want the comforts of luxury travel. Whether it’s off the beaten track travel or immersive cultural experiences, it seems customers are looking for something a bit different and unique, and in an age of globalisation South America remains somewhat of an enigma travel-wise. Lesley Egbert, owner of Live Longitude, LLC commented: “They (customers) want to truly experience the country, do something off the beaten path, and see places in a different way… they want to be travellers and not tourists.”
- Fremantle, Australia
With its working class roots and bohemian background, Fremantle is the eccentric little sister to Perth and recently was named as a Top City in Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2016’. With its live music scene, hipster bars and coffee shops, craft-beer breweries, trendy galleries and museums, ‘Freo’ has reinvented itself and may just become the first-stop for tourists to this majestic state where the red earth meets the sea.
- Lima, Peru
Slowly building its reputation as a city for foodies, Lima is host to everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to exotic street vendors selling guinea pig kebab sticks. Recently, in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards, eight of 50 restaurants where awarded to eateries in the Peruvian city, cementing its status amongst gastronomes. If the promise of Pisco Sour and Comida Criolla isn’t enough to entice visitors, the bustling city’s proximity to Cusco and Machu Picchu, the mysterious Nazca Lines and the desert oasis of Huacachina surely will.
- Oslo, Norway
The popularity of Disney’s ‘Frozen’ has not only led to staggering box office profits and sold-out merchandise; the hit movie is also motivating a dramatic increase in travel to the country behind the winter wonderland. New flights to the country and the US have been announced, and in addition, a number of new tours and cruises (such as the Disney Cruise Line in which you can meet Anna and Elsa in person!).
- Rome, Italy
They say all roads lead to Rome, and if so, lucky us! With its full-of-life piazzas, museums and churches filled with art by the likes of Michelangelo and Bernini, and debatably host to the tastiest food in the world… who doesn’t want to spend their holiday buzzing around the backstreets of the Eternal City on a Vespa? In 2016, the 2000-year-old Colosseum will be unveiling its €25 million restoration, and in addition, the Trevi Fountain has installed 100 LED lights to improve its night time illumination after undergoing its own large scale clean up. And what makes a destination trendier than appearing in a recent blockbuster? With the release of Spectre, the city will surely entice a few James Bond aficionados.
- Palawan, Philippines
Renowned for its stunning turquoise waters, lush rainforest and free-spirited ambience, Palawan is often labelled Philippine’s ‘last frontier’ and is expected to be a top island destination in 2016. Just this year it was named by Conde Nast Traveller as the ‘Best Island in the World’. The increase in direct flights from Palawan to Europe, America and Australia with Philippine Airlines will see more international visitors rushing to its utopian shores. Could the untouched waters of Palawan be the Bali of yesteryear?