Our tips for 2016

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
Anguilla

Anguilla

After reading the tips from the nine or so organisations we mentioned before Christmas, what do we, ourselves, think?

For a start we would go along with many industry predictions because they are so obvious. More flights to a destinations means in 99.9% of cases an increase in passenger numbers. Canada, Costa Rica, Braziland Peru should all see increased numbers. As should Iceland which will be a stopping off place for people flying the North Atlantic.

The other destinations that are probably assured of an increase in tourism are any places that appear on television in documentaries headlined by well-known personalities. Sir David Attenborough’s series on the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland will generate more interest. As for programmes later in the year, who knows but whatever is planned, if they appear on terrestrial television, an increase is guaranteed so you can see why tourism officers make pitches to BBC, ITV, Channels 4 and 5. Sky and other satellite or cable channels don’t achieve the same impact.

Film tie-ins are also important for destinations. The recently released Star Wars film will generate interest in places where it was filmed. Abu Dhabi and Iceland may see more visitors but so will a host of places in the UK and Ireland such as Skellig Michael in County Kerry, the Forest of Dean and Derwentwater in the Lake District. The launch of the BFG in June from the famous Roald Dahl story should galvanise a few more tourists to visit those places connected with Dahl such as Cardiff Bay and Buckinghamshire.

Cardigan Bay

Cardigan Bay

For safety reasons, we are pretty sure that Spain, (that includes the Canaries and the Balearics) Portugal, Italy and Malta will probably do well because people will book destinations that they perceive are far away from any security issues in the Middle East and North Africa.

A few years ago, Hull was tipped as one of the places to visit by Adrian and it re-appears in our list because it becomes UK City of Culture in 2017. This year Judith suggests that there is more to Hull than many writers suggest and quite why it gets overlooked or criticised is hard to fathom. It’s well a visit and knocks some more established tourist destinations into a cocked hat given the number of things the city has on offer.

Another place suggested by Judith is Bridlington which doubles for Walmington-on-Sea in the feature film about Dad’s Army which opens in February. Adrian nominates the Cardigan coast from the north of Pembrokeshire up the Llŷn peninsular as this year over 1,000 dolphins were estimated to be in the bay, red kites have become more established and because there are so many heritage sites such as Harlech, Criccieth and Cilgerran Castles.

Punta Gallinas in Colombia

Punta Gallinas in Colombia

In Europe, away from countries already mentioned, Anna-Maria, says that the Baltic countries and Scandinavia will continue to attract more tourists and Adrian suggests that the German coastline much loved by German holidaymakers who head to the beaches in large numbers should be on British itineraries as well. Germany is now a popular destination from the UK, we being the third largest source of visitors and with more low-costs flights from UK regional airports it is hard not to see increases in British numbers. (Note to ourselves: are we biased here because we won the best online title at the German turism awards?)

Further afield Judith suggests the Caribbean island of Anguilla which, she says, is fast becoming the new must-go destination for Brits with new hotels opening and with over 100 restaurants on the tiny island  getting a reputation as the Caribbean capital of cuisine.

Staying on that side of the Atlantic, Lynn, Natasha, Kaye and Irene all plump for Cuba as a hot spot in 2016. Now that Americans can travel there, the island has been building new hotels, improving its infrastructure and making itself more attractive for the US tourist charge. It didn’t happen in quite the number anticipated in 2015 but surely must next year.

A Costa Rican beach - one of many attractions in the country.

A Costa Rican beach – one of many attractions in the country.

Remaining in the Caribbean, it is hard – as Robin suggests – not to tip Costa Rica which appeared on many travel trade tips for the year. More flights including direct ones and an appearance in the brochures of the biggest tour operators will certainly boost visitors.

Heading south from the Caribbean, Anna-Maria and Kaye zero in on South American countries tipping Peru, Colombia and Uruguay –all of which we gave considerable coverage to this year and last. What’s the appeal for 2016? More flights and these countries are on offer from more tour operators than ever before so, as you flip through the brochures, these names will constantly crop up.

Both Anna-Maria and Robin suggest South Korea. It is hosting the winter Olympics in 2018 and looks set to be an up-and-coming destination for winter sports since snow coverage. It seems to offer more of a guarantee than many European resorts at least as it stands this Christmas new year season where many resorts in traditional places have resorted to snow machines and farming to make sure they have some snow.

Cuban street

Cuba. Will it change as more tourists arrive.

Since Vietnam no longer requires Brits to have a visa, Natasha nominates the country as it also has a currency which has depreciated against sterling making it an attractive destination in terms of cost as well as appeal for its weather, heritage and cuisine.

Iran appeared in a number of lists that the experts tipped, largely because of the different political attitudes to the country. Reza agrees and suggests that Isfahan, Shiraz, Yazd and Kerman are the best places to visit. the spring is the best time to visit when the weather is better but he wonders whether the country is geared up to a large influx of visitors.

Lynn pitches in with a nomination for Uzbekistan as well as some of the other central Asian countries. Many form part of the Silk Road route conjuring up images of Marco Polo who travelled these roads some 800 years ago. For the intrepid, adventure seeking tourist who wants to go where he neighbours haven’t been, Uzbekistan and the other “stans” have an appeal.

Could “mindfulness” be the big new buzz of 2016? Anthony suggests that meditation, yoga, self-improvement and remedies for stress and depression might be the new type of holiday to follow “wellness” that has been around for a decade or more.

Or it might be “creative tourism,” as Anna-Maria suggest. This is where you immerse yourself in the holiday to understand the culture and the people where you are holidaying. It could be that part of your holiday is spent understanding and cooking local dishes, or learning how art forms have developed and then creating art using the methods and approach that your host destination has developed. More and more holidays are available that include “how-to-do” as part of the offer.

River cruising on the Rhine is popular

River cruising on the Rhine is popular

But as well as their being winners, there will probably be losers too. Tunisia, Egypt and possibly Turkey and Lebanon could be affected as being too close to areas of conflict or where terrorists are known to operate. Robin has already spotted that Magaluf was full of people who said they had switched from Tunisian resorts and Egyptian ones like Sharm.

For those seeking value-for-money then it is precisely those places Robin mentions where the best offers are likely to be found. There were some cheap one week bargains in Red Sea resorts over Christmas and these will probably be available for some time. Don’t expect to find bargains in Spain, Portugal and Italy as it seems they will be hovering up tourists from almost anywhere in Europe who might have put North Africa on their list for a 2016 break.

 

 

In summary, then, in alphabetical order, here are our top tips for 2016

Anguilla,

Cardigan Bay,

Colombia,

Costa Rica,

Cuba,

Germany,

Hull,

Peru,

South Korea,

Uruguay,

Uzbekistan,

Vietnam.

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