With 2017 quickly coming to an end, now is the perfect time to reflect on the past year. We’ve tracked guest travel trends over the course of last 12 months and found that some of the old favorites have held strong, while there were a couple of surprises (we’re looking at you India). Here are 10 of our most popular destinations around the world in 2017…
South Africa is a country of enough contrasts and diversity to satisfy a continent. It’s home to mountain ranges, arid deserts, wild swamps and vast savanna. At the southernmost tip, stunning beaches, winelands and the vibrant city of Cape Town await. The country’s national parks provide visitors with some of the most rewarding game viewing and luxurious accommodation in Africa.
Legendary white sandy beaches and warm people are only a small part of the allure that draws people to Thailand; any trip here will surpass expectations. A land of contrasts, expect an overload to the senses with an eclectic mix of glistening temples; chaotic cities and unbelievably delicious food.
With long stretches of Mediterranean and Amalfi coastline, Italy has the beautiful Tuscan countryside, vineyards, charming cities and fabulous food. Head to Florence for renaissance architecture, to Venice, the “city of water”, or to Rome for beautiful historical monuments. As well as beautiful cities, the island of Sicily has brilliant coastal scenery.
Peru is home to beautiful landscapes, fascinating cultures and well-preserved vestiges from ancient civilizations. Its top attraction is the awe-inspiring lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, perched high in the Andes in the mist-shrouded forests. Other highlights include the colonial gem of Cuzco, the landscapes of the Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, the gastronomic scene in Lima, the Inca sites and markets of the Sacred Valley, and the pristine Amazon rain forest, where you can choose from remote jungle lodges to luxurious small expedition vessels.
Kenya is arguably one of the best destinations in Africa for safari. The country is evocative of a romantic and pioneering age, made famous by the book and film “Out of Africa”, and Kenya holds a special place in the hearts of Africa-lovers. One of the best spots for game-viewing year-round is the Maasai Mara, part of the greater Serengeti ecosystem, where you’ll find big cats aplenty, and during some months it is also home to huge herds of wildebeest grazing on the sweeping plains on their annual migration.
Colorful, outrageous, romantic and wild, India is a beautiful enigma. Its vibrancy will astound you, as will the warmth of its people. It’s a patchwork quilt of a thousand polarized traditions and cultures brought together into one psychedelic daydream. From the high Himalayas to the backwaters of Kerala, India delivers spectacular natural beauty in every shape and form. A vacation to this incredible country will delight your eyes, nourish your soul and open your heart on a journey you’ll never forget.
Sri Lanka simply has it all: tropical beaches, mountainous terrain punctuated with waterfalls, incredible wildlife, tea plantations, fabulous food and diverse culture featuring time old ancient sites. Sri Lanka’s coasts are bursting with palm-lined sandy beaches and charming towns such as Galle or Bentota. The center is largely mountainous, has a cooler climate and is dotted with tea plantations and architectural reminders of the British colonial era. Sri Lanka has some spectacular ruins in the north of the country such as Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa and Dambulla, and its many national parks such as Yala and Willpattu contain abundant wildlife, including monkey, deer, buffalo, elephant and even leopard.
Iceland, a magical, mysterious island in the north Atlantic Ocean, has vast, stunning and unspoiled landscapes and an enchanting capital city. Geologically the world’s newest country, Iceland is famous for its natural beauty, from bubbling geysers to powerful waterfalls and awe-inspiring glacial lagoons, and for those lucky enough to see them, the elusive Northern Lights. From the black sand beaches in the south to the fjords of the north and the stark beauty of the west, Iceland is simply breathtaking. Whether covered by a blanket of snow or glistening under the light of the midnight sun, this intriguing country is captivating, any time of the year.
Chile is a narrow ribbon that extends from the border with Peru to Patagonia in the south, and is home to some of the world’s most spectacular scenery. One of the continent’s most prosperous countries, Chile offers travelers a unique combination of stunning wine country, incredible food, spectacular Andean landscapes and adventure. Experience the wildernesses of Patagonia, the rich wine regions of the central valley, the lunar landscapes of the Atacama Desert or the granite spires and glaciers of world-famous Torres del Paine National Park.
Exquisite islands, beautiful coastline, ancient stories and delicious food all play their part in the worldwide appeal of Greece. Here the coastline stretches 16,000km, met with the sparkling transparent waters of the Mediterranean. There are endless small bays and coves to explore and, of course, many Greek islands, the largest being Crete. Its rock coasts, vast sandy beaches, pebble shores and crystal blue Mediterranean waters are what bring guests back time and time again. Greece’s long-standing history is also self-evident, with many archaeological sites and monuments of distinctive prestige to explore throughout this mythical, magical country.