Discover Somewhere New on Your Next Adventure
Ten years ago, Iceland was a sleepy little island in the north Atlantic that few people thought of or could point out on a map. But that all started to change in 2011, when budget airlines started offering $99 flights to and from the United States and Europe. Suddenly, the low prices and spectacular natural beauty made Reykjavik an international travel hub that saw 20%+ increases in tourists for the next several years.
As millions of new visitors poured into Iceland’s capital city and popular tourist attractions like the Blue Lagoon, the small nation became bogged down with the heavy traffic. That drove up prices and diminished some of the austere beauty that made Iceland such a novel destination in the first place.
Similar stories have played out across the globe. Places like Portugal, Turkey, and Barcelona, Spain, are in the midst of their own booms, which threatens to overwhelm the infrastructure and ultimately the experience of visitors. And the trend isn’t slowing down. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reports that international tourism grew more than 6% in 2018.
As a region, Europe still gets the most international visitors. But Africa, Southeast Asia, and Oceania are growing the fastest. With that in mind, we here at Windy City Travel are forecasting the newest up-and-coming travel destinations for 2019 and 2020, so you can visit before the crowds get there.
Thawing diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba opened the Caribbean island to an influx of new visitors starting in 2014. And prices briefly skyrocketed as the country tried to keep up with demand. But the draw of the lively culture and unspoiled beaches kept the visitors coming. And now as Havana gets ready to celebrate its 500th anniversary in November 2019, Cuban tourism officials expect more than 5 million visitors this year alone. But with luxury properties going up in Havana and along the coasts, the island nation is more than prepared to welcome them all with open arms.
Scandinavia has been growing as a tourist destination for nearly a decade. Sweden is the leading draw, followed by Denmark (whose capital, Copenhagen is a hotspot for global foodies), and then Norway, whose relatively weak currency makes it a good value for international visitors.
Tourism is very seasonal, with the vast majority of travelers flocking to Norway’s southwestern fjord region during the summer months (May to August). But for travelers looking to enjoy Norway’s natural beauty, Lapland is a must-see destination. The sparsely populated region above the Arctic Circle is one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights and participate in winter activities like dog sledding and snowshoeing.
Wedged between Ukraine and Romania, this small European hamlet has remained mostly hidden away from tourists outside the region. But Moldova is a must for wine lovers. In terms of status, it’s hard to compete with the French and Italian, but in its heyday, the former Soviet republic was the USSR’s best-known wine producer.
A resurgence in the wine tradition has lead to new and refurbished wineries in all four of the country’s distinct grape-growing regions. If tasting the wine isn’t enough of a draw, Moldova’s wineries are also home to vast underground networks of wine cellars. These labyrinth structures, many of which are more than 50 miles long, are carved into limestone and worth exploring on their own.
The world’s fourth largest island, Madagascar has developed over millions of years in near isolation off the coast of Africa. That separation has led to a landscape unlike any other. Endemic species like lemurs and baobab trees are just some of the unique flora and fauna there. With such biodiversity in a single spot, Madagascar is primed to become an ecotourism hotspot. But the tourism industry is still underdeveloped compared to most destinations, so Travelers should be warned that few of the accommodations are up to international standards.
If roughing it isn’t your vacation style, The Seychelles might be a better choice. The archipelago is famous for being the exclusive spot where Prince William and Kate Middleton spent their honeymoon. The crystal-clear waters make for some awe-inspiring diving and you might get to see whale sharks.
Kiribati’s two claims to fame could not be more different. The country’s remote Pacific locale is a nature lover’s dream, with world-class fishing, diving, bird-watching, and surfing. But the capital city of Tarawa was also home to one of the bloodiest battles of World War II, and history buffs will find much to explore.
Because of Kiribati’s up-and-coming status and isolated location (the nearest country is about 3,000 miles away), the accommodations are more rustic than compared to Pacific island getaways like Bora Bora or Fiji.
Let’s Start Planning Your Next Adventure
To start planning your next trip to one of these destinations or any other place on Earth, get in touch with our experienced agents at Windy City Travel. We make booking travel simple, and our know-how ensures you an incredible value on everything from flights and lodging to unforgettable experiences.