What the industry tips for 2016

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
A costa Rican beach - one of many attractions in the country and a favourite with North Americans for years

A costa Rican beach – one of many attractions in the country and a favourite with North Americans for years

Many forecasters started compiling their lists of where they think people will travel sometime in advance of the new year. Last minute occurrences that might affect their thinking can’t be taken into account so readers should remember that sterling hadn’t started to fall against the US dollar making it more expensive for us to travel to the USA or that acts terrorism or instability in certain places might deter us from travelling to others.

In that light, where do companies and organisations think we will be travelling next year? Let’s start with the UK version of National Geographic (there is a US version with an entirely different set of destinations in their list.) which has Iran at the top its list. It is principally on the list because political times have altered and it will become more accessible over the next few years.

Costa Rica is next on the list since both Thomson and British Airways will be offering direct flights and third comes Washington DC which, as readers will know, has attracted attention from tow of our writers for its restaurant scene and cultural aspects.

Ireland is the fourth choice and, up until the end of November, an extra 300,000 Brits had visited the country over last year’s numbers. Can that double digit growth continue in 2016? Cuba is the next choice followed by Nepal, Shanghai (because the new Shanghai Disney Resort opens in the spring of 2016) and Mozambique. That country is selected because the Foreign Office advisory has been lifted and because the country combines beautiful sandy beaches with an array of wildlife and forest to see. Then come St Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and, closer to home, Bosnia and Herzegovina though why that should be selected this year rather than last isn’t made quite clear.

The Roman baths in...Bath

The Roman baths in…Bath

Eventually we come to the first UK destination – Somerset – chosen because of new and better self- catering places and the recently renamed Hoseasons resort. Another reason given is that Bath is becoming hip again. That’s good news?

Rio de Janeiro is selected (because of the Olympics) as is Kazakhstan, Argentina (Kaye is off the again in a few days’ time to enjoy the sunshine and will be reporting regularly for us) and San Sebastian in Spain because it is European Capital of Culture next year. Finally, the magazine concludes its list by adding the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the reason being that David Attenborough will be having a television series about it in the Spring.

Skyscanner, the travel search engine, has based is predictions on an analysis of millions of flight searches that its users have made over the last three years. Therefore it doesn’t take into account recent patterns but must flatten any peaks and troughs over that period. It lists Ponta Delgada in the Azores in the top place a long way in front of its second choice – Havana in Cuba. Tokyo, Copenhagen and Sal on Cap Verde complete the top five.

On the other hand, Travelzoo, has selected those destinations which they think will offer value for money next year. They think that affordable long-haul travel will tempt people such as the Canadian no-frills airline, WestJet’s cheap fares to Canada. They also tip South Africa due to the fall in the rand against sterling and then, as an outside bet, suggest the Seychelles as the company believes that it will become more affordable as the tourist board world hard to encourage more visitors. Israel is on their list because of the increased number of direct flights by no-frill airlines such as Monarch and EasyJet. Because there have been no direct flights between London and Peru for over thirty years so with British Airways starting flights next May, Peru could be the recipient of many more British visitors.

tigers are one of the visitor attractions in India

tigers are one of the visitor attractions in India

Cox & Kings, the upmarket tour operator, has selected Iran as one of its tips for 2016 just like National geographic UK since it feels that Brits feel it is safer to travel there now. It also sees India and Sri Lanka as popular places for bookings next year. From South America it selects Columbia because it is still largely untouched by mass tourism yet it offers history, beautiful colonial cities and lush landscapes. It also thinks Costa Rica in Central America will become more popular especially after British Airways starts operating direct flights from next May. Russia is the last country it tips in particular because it is the 100th anniversary of the Trans-Siberian Express and because the BBC will be serialising War and Peace and everyone knows how TV coverage boosts tourism.

They also see a growing interest in food tourism and think that more holidays that combine good local food with sightseeing will grow in appeal.

Kuoni is forecasting that South Africa, the Caribbean and maybe Antigua in particular, Greece, Peru, Maldives, India, Japan, Italy, Kenya, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Mauritius and Orlando are hotspots for next year. In the case of Kenya it is because there has been a relaxation of Foreign Office warnings and because the film Born Free was launched 50 years ago next year. In the case of places like Greece, Vietnam, Costa Rica and Peru, it is because there are more flights. Kuoni forecast that Antigua would attract more visitors because the pound has strengthened against the US dollar (this applies also to the South Africa tip as the pound has strengthened against the rand making holidays cheaper for us) which is used on the island. Since then the pound has slumped a bit against the US currency so this forecast may turn out to be wrong. Orlando is there because Universal is opening its new ride Skull Island: Reign of Kong and Disney has Frozen Ever After based on its own film. Italy is also tipped because of a film, the new version of Ben Hur was shot there and Kuoni thinks that will encourage people to visit. Finally it opts not so much for a destination but a holiday type – cruising on clippers in Asia which it thinks will expand as new itineraries are introduced.

Another luxury company, Jacada, has compiled the longest list of tips for 2016 but it does give more space to explaining the reasoning behind its suggestions. Myanmar top its list because of the recent election results which will further increase the increases that the country has seen in visitor numbers. Costa Rica, Brazil, Mozambique, Spain (San Sebastian) and Botswana make its list as well as Vietnam and Kenya. It also nominates France which no other forecaster has done. It thinks that France will show resilience and with the new tourist board campaign it seems an upsurge in visitors by people who will either not be deterred or want to show that they will stand with France.

Lake Bratan in Indonesia where you'll get more money for your pound

Lake Bratan in Indonesia where you’ll get more money for your pound

Indonesia is also on their list because of the downturn in their currency against ours meaning we will get more for our money there. It will also be one of the few places where you should be able to see a total eclipse of the sun on March 9th. It recommends Antarctica for a sense of wilderness which is quite difficult to find elsewhere but given the comfort of the cruise ships that ply Antarctic waters, at least it is done in luxury.

The Ultimate Travel Company thinks Brazil will be the place to go because of the Olympics and, since it is the 5th largest country in the world, it offers plenty of opportunity for travellers to get into the Amazonian rainforest, to visit the Iguassu Falls and to see the beaches and the wildlife. Like Cox & Kings they also think that Costa Rica and Peru will benefit from those extra BA flights and they also believe that David Attenborough’s BBC series will attract more people to visit the Great Barrier Reef. As it is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in the USA, Ultimate is also tipping that more people will visit national parks such as Yosemite. It joins Lonely Planet in tipping Botswana which, next year, celebrates 50 years of independence and, in particular, suggests Okavango the longest inland delta in the world. Here you can see lions, leopards, hyenas, wild dogs and jackals, plus herds of elephant and buffalo, pods of hippos, giraffes and birds. Sri Lanka and Cuba are both on their list as is Iran.

Trailfinders selects India as one of its tips for 2016 because it is easier to get a visa than it has been in previous years. The National Park Service turns 100 on 25 August 2016 so this joins the tips of Trailfinders along with Cuba which has been tipped by many travel companies as has Costa Rica, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Brazil and Peru. Because there are many more direct and indirect (via Iceland) flights to Canada, Trailfinders adds this huge country to its list

According to Eurocamp, it highlights not a destination but a type of traveller. Called Generation Globetrotter it says these are youngsters who manage an average four overseas trips before they reach the age of six, with one in seven (16 per cent) travelling outside the UK before they are one. By the time they are sixteen, they have racked up an impressive seven overseas trips, with more than a quarter enjoying ten or more and one in 20 taking 15 trips with their families.

Iran - one of the surprises that appears in many tip lists this year

Iran – one of the surprises that appears in many tip lists this year

Over here, ABTA doesn’t usually forecast overseas holiday trends apart from Easter, Christmas and the busiest weekends over summer but in the US, USTOA – the United States Tour Operators Association –does and I have included these so you can see where they think Americans will holiday. For a start 57% of their members are forecasting a boom year but the travel industry is known for being both wildly optimistic and despairingly pessimistic. There seems to be no middle road. But their predictions do come after a heathy travel year over there. For emerging or off-the beaten path destinations they suggested Cuba, followed by Myanmar, Iceland, Colombia, and Ethiopia and Japan as places that could gain in popularity in 2016. Italy – for the fourth successive year – topped the list as most popular international destination for travellers in 2016 followed by the UK, China, France, South Africa, Peru and Hawaii.

The American version of National Geographic opts for a different set of places to the British edition (apart from Hawaii) and to USTOA. It lists Bermuda in first place and then, in our Year of Gardens next year to go for Capability Brown’s Gardens of which there are more than a few. These two front runners are followed by the Côte d’Or in Burgundy, the Danube which travels through so many European countries so maybe they are really suggesting river cruises. Eastern Bhutan in next followed by Glasgow, Greenland and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (it is the anniversary of national parks in the US next year.)

the Antarctic - the last wilderness for travellers?

the Antarctic – the last wilderness for travellers?

Then come Hokkaido in Japan, the Masurian Lakes in Poland and the city of New York. The Okavango Delta in Botswana continues the list with the Philippines next, Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil and the twin cities in California of San Diego and Tijuana. The final entrants on the list are the Seychelles, South Georgia Island, (definitely not the easiest place to get to) Tangier and Smith Islands in Chesapeake Bay, Uruguay and finally the Canadian city of Winnipeg.

And there you have it. Some countries like Iran and Mozambique may be surprising whilst Brazil and Costa Rica appear quite often in forecasts. Do any tempt you or do these tips make you think they are best avoided because so many will take this advice?

Hang on before you make a decision. The tips from writers on Just about Travel will be next appearing on December 27th.

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