Add these rising travel stars to your 'must visit' list
If you love discovering new travel hot spots before they blow up, you’re in luck; Airbnb has crunched the numbers, looking at destinations that have seen the biggest year-on-year bookings growth on the booking platform, to reveal the best holiday destinations for 2020…
1. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Up 729 per cent
Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee may have slipped under your travel radar, but reasons to put it back on it include a thriving bar and restaurant scene, cultural attractions such as the Calatrava-designed art museum and more than 105 miles of picturesque bike lanes.
2. Bilbao, Spain
Up 402 per cent
Home to the striking Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao’s transformation from low-key city to cultural Mecca saw it scoop European City of the Year in 2018. A stunning cityscape, diverse dining scene and the fact that it’s the host of UEFA Euro2020 are also good reasons to visit.
3. Buriram, Thailand
Up 383 per cent
Home to some of Thailand’s most treasured Khmer relics – including the striking Phanom Rung complex (pictured above) – this rural province is a must for those who love to learn more about the ancient world. Buriram will also play host to the MotoGP in 2020 as well as the annual Buriram Marathon.
4. Sunbury, Victoria, Australia
Up 356 per cent
The birthplace of The Ashes, the suburb of Sunbury is just a short drive away from the thriving city of Melbourne. Aside from its sporting history it continues to charm visitors thanks to its winning combo of Victorian-era architecture, wineries and wildlife. 2020 will also see Melbourne hosting another key cricketing fixture – the ICC T20 World Cup – which could mean that even more people than usual descend on nearby Sunbury.
Up 298 per cent
With its ancient rural villages, pretty hillsides and some of the best preserved virgin forests in Europe, according to the 2018 Environmental Performance Index, Romania is a haven for history buffs and nature lovers alike.
6. Xi’an, China
Up 255 per cent
Best known as the home of the terracotta warriors, and often cited as one of the birthplaces of Chinese civilisation, the capital of China’s western Shaanxi province offers a truly captivating experience for visitors to China. In 2020, plans are afoot to debut a tourism program that will introduce 30 nighttime tour routes throughout Xi’an with highlights including performances and nighttime markets.
7. Eugene, Oregon, US
Up 213 per cent
Fast-earning a reputation as a culinary hub in Oregon – particularly for organic food – this Pacific Northwest city is also surrounded by natural beauty. The 2020 United States Olympic Trials for track and field will take place in Eugene in summer 2020, so sporting enthusiasts may also want to plan a trip at this time to soak up the competitive atmosphere.
Up 167 per cent
This small, but perfectly formed, European country was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, largely thanks to its historic core. The forested hills surrounding Luxembourg are also home to top notch vineyards, medieval castles, rocky gorges and quaint villages.
9. Guadalajara, Mexico
Up 158 per cent
Mexico’s second city has a wealth of attractions to keep even the most discerning traveller happy. From the colonial architecture of the Chapultepec neighbourhood to it’s wealth of museums and festivals – including the annual Puerto Vallarta Film Festival of the Americas – there really is something for everyone. Plus, the pace of life is less frenetic than Mexico City for those who want a gentler introduction to Mexico.
Up 140 per cent
Made up of more than 80 islands, this idyllic archipelago nation is the very definition of getting away from it all. From deserted beaches to stunning Pacific wildlife, whether you want to be active – activities including hiking up a volcano and world-class scuba diving – or want to while away your days in a more leisurely way, you’ll find plenty of options to choose from.
11. Cali, Colombia
Up 137 per cent
A melting pot of indigenous, European and African cultures, the city’s distinctive caleño culture is evident in its local dance and music scene; Cali has also been dubbed the world’s salsa capital. Its position 1,000 metres above sea level also means that it enjoys warm temperatures during the day and cool temperatures come night.
12. Cape Canaveral, Florida, US
Up 136 per cent
Best known as the site of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Cape Canaveral is also home to three significant protected areas — Canaveral National Seashore, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Sebastian Inlet State Park – and 72 miles of pristine beachfront. It will also act as the launch site of NASA’s Mars 2020 Exploration Program in July 2020.
13. Aberdeen, Scotland
Up 119 per cent
Scotland’s third largest city is known as the Granite City due to the fact that much of it’s architecture features the gleaming white stone. As well as all the attractions of the city itself, including galleries, museums and restaurants visitors can enjoy breathtaking surrounding countryside and majestic coastal scenery.
14. Courtenay, BC, Canada
Up 114 per cent
Set in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island fans of the great outdoors will feel right at home amongst the alpine meadows, rolling mountains and bohemian villages of this small city.
15. Ubatuba, Brazil
Up 108 per cent
The surfing capital of São Paulo state – several surf championships are held throughout the year – you can choose from more than 100 beaches in which to catch the perfect wave. The area’s lush Atlantic rainforest is also a big draw for nature lovers.
16. Les Contamines-Montjoie, France
Up 108 per cent
Nestled between the popular resorts of Chamonix and Megève, in the heart of the Mont Blanc region, this picture-postcard village is a year-round destination – head there in the summer for mountain climbing and in the winter for skiing.
17. Tokyo, Japan
Up 103 per cent
Tokyo is already a firm fixture on the tourist trail, but with the forthcoming Summer Olympics – the fourth time Tokyo has hosted it – Japan’s capital is bound to wing it’s way back to the top of the travel itinerary.
18. Kerala, India
Up 95 per cent
An oasis of calm in an otherwise fast-paced country, visitors won’t fail to be enchanted by it’s array of beaches, lakes, mountains, waterfalls and rolling coffee plantations. The state also runs a Responsible Tourism program, ensuring it ticks the boxes for an eco-friendly destination.
19. Malindi, Kenya
Up 88 per cent
A multicultural melting pot of African, Arab and European residents, this historic port and beach town is known for it’s Swahili architecture, delicious seafood and natural marvels such as the Marafa Depression (above) – a spectacular sandstone canyon.
20. Maastricht, Netherlands
Up 55 per cent
Located outside of Amsterdam this Dutch city has a rich Roman history, a wealth of historic buildings and in 2020 will play host to one of the globe’s largest art fairs — TEFAF Maastricht.