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Top Up-and-Coming Destinations for 2019

From Colombia’s secret paradise of Palomino to the desert wilderness of Jordan’s Wadi Rum and the tasty seafood of Bacalar, Mexico, here are nine of the top emerging travel destinations for 2019*.

Research reveals that nearly half of global travelers (45%) want to be more adventurous in their choice of destination in 2019 than they were in 2018, rising to 58% of 18-34 year olds, which makes these up-and-coming destinations the perfect places to put on your 2019 bucket list**. In 2019, over half (51%) of travelers want to visit somewhere none of their friends have been and 60% of 25-34 year olds plan to use more of their annual leave on travel, so time to make the most of your next vacation with our these new hotspots!


Wadi Rum, Jordan

Featured as the backdrop for many blockbuster films, Wadi Rum is everything you’d expect from a desert wilderness. Dramatic sandstone mountains, red canyons and stunning prehistoric rocks make up the stark, yet striking scenery, with Wadi Rum providing a getaway that’s completely off the grid. This desert landscape has often been been compared to Mars with its red sand and natural arches, which makes it a perfect choice for a truly out of this world vacay.

Where to stay: Memories Aicha Luxury Camp features everything you need for the ultimate desert experience. The property’s sleek design means that it’s ideal for stargazing and looking out towards the mountains. As well as its one-of-a-kind views, the property provides its guests with delectable dishes in its restaurant and a breakfast that caters to all dietary requirements.


Samarkand, Uzbekistan

One of the most prosperous stops on the ancient Silk Road, Samarkand is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia and has been a hub for various cultures for hundreds of years. It’s full of medieval architecture and monuments that are included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. One of the most popular monuments in the city is the beautiful Registan Square, completely covered in mosaics and adorned with gold and calligraphy. 

Where to stay: With a great location only a short five-minute walk from the city center, Jahongir Hotel offers traditional Uzbek cuisine and rooms decorated with stunning traditional embroidered tapestry, known as Suzani.


Bacalar, Mexico

Tipped to be the next Maldives, Bacalar houses one of the most stunning natural beauties, the Lake of the Seven Colors. With its crystal clear, fresh water and white sandy base, this lake appears almost turquoise and is ideal for diving and snorkelling. Small fishermen's houses dot the lake, so be sure to sample some of the fresh seafood that Bacalar is famous for. 

Where to stay: Casa Bakal is the perfect stay for travelers seeking a beachfront location on the Lake of Seven Colors. Go for a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool, take in the mesmerising sights of the turquoise-hued waters, or rent a bicycle and explore the surrounding natural beauty of Bacalar.


Ouarzazate, Morocco

Known as the gateway to the Sahara, Ouarzazate is a city south of Morocco’s beautiful Atlas Mountains and home to the impressive Ait Ben Haddou (a fortified village) where you can head to the ancient Kasbah to watch spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Quad biking along the dusty roads is an excellent way to explore the region, which has been a setting for some big movies and TV shows – you can even visit some of the local film studios if you want. 

Where to stay: Riad Ouarzazate is a Kasbah style property in the centre of Ouarzazate that offers stylish rooms with traditional Moroccan décor and an outdoor terrace where you can enjoy some traditional cuisine. Whether you just want to just kick back and relax in the lounge or explore the local area, the staff will be more than happy to help you make the most of your stay.


Palomino, Colombia

This beloved beachside town is a must-see on any visit to Colombia, offering travelers a range of exciting activities. Not only does it boast beautiful Caribbean beaches, which are ideal for surfing and sunbathing, but it’s also a great place for spotting wildlife (monkeys and toucans to name a couple) and sampling delicious seafood. You can also try tubing on Palomino River, taking in the natural beauty as you float down to the Caribbean Sea.

Where to stay: Palomino is a great spot for amazing hostels and Casa del Pavo Real Boutique Hostel is a great example, boasting modern luxury at a backpacker price. Just five minutes from the beach, this charming property features an outdoor pool, garden, restaurant, terrace and shared lounge.


Mestia, Georgia

This town in northwest Georgia is 1,500 meters (almost a mile) above sea level and a great homebase for trips throughout the region. The Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography is a great place to immerse yourself in the local history and culture. Active travelers will be in awe hiking up the Chaladi Glacier on the slopes of the Caucasus Mountains as well as hiking the lakes at the base of Mount Ushba, offering breathtaking views. Foodies will be intrigued by the local Svan cuisine – especially the Kubdari meat pie and Tashmijabi (cheesy mashed potatoes). 

Where to stay: Svaneti apartment is just over a mile from Mestia, with ski storage space available for those seeking a snowy getaway. These fully-equipped apartments also include cosy sitting areas, perfect for relaxing after a day of adventure.


Kigali, Rwanda

“The land of a Thousand Hills” has become more accessible for travel over recent years, with travelers coming from all over the world to see the incredible mountain gorillas which live in Volcanoes National Park. In addition to gorillas, you can also spot the Big Five (lions, rhinos, elephants, buffalos and leopards) on safari in Akagera National Park. The city of Kigali itself is considered one of the safest and most alluring capitals in Africa and offers more than just a great base to the wider region: having undergone rapid economic transformation in the past 10 years, the city boasts a booming food scene, bustling markets and fun nightlife.

Where to stay: Pili Pili Boutique Hotel offers stylish apartments where guests can enjoy beautiful views, an outdoor swimming pool and an in-house restaurant that serves both international and local cuisine. 


Leeuwarden, Netherlands

Leeuwarden is full of laid back Dutch charm with its museums, great shopping districts and foodie hotspots. What’s more, it was named a 2018 Capital of Culture due to its choice of cultural performances and exhibitions. Easy to explore by bike, visitors can stop off at the Fries Museum to learn about Frisian treasures, climb Leeuwarden’s leaning tower and sample some local spirits at a family-run distillery in the Boomsma Museum.

Where to stay: Located in the heart of Leeuwarden, City Centre De Rozenboom is a charming guest house located in a monumental building from the 17th century, offering views of the Oldehove and the Ceramic Museum. In the neighborhood, you can explore the Prinsentuin gardens, the Theatre De Harmonie as well as various shops, restaurants and bars all within walking distance.


Nusa Penida, Indonesia

Many travelers tend to visit the Gili Islands, Bali or other tourist hot spots when visiting Indonesia, but Nusa Penida is still a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Nusa Penida is an island off the southeast coast of Bali and offers breathtaking, mostly untouched landscapes. Travelers can try their hand at scuba diving, walk along the Crystal Bay or go for a swim in Giri Putri Cave or the natural infinity pool at Angel’s Billabong.

Where to stay: Kabeh Jati Garden Villa and Restaurant provides guests with a comfortable stay complete with an onsite restaurant serving both Asian and American food. Just a short drive away from the beach and local harbour, the property is perched on a mountaintop and offers amazing 360 degree views of the entire island.


Ksamil, Albania

This village in Southern Albania is a hidden gem when it comes to beautiful beaches., but not for long! Located on the Albanian Riviera you’ll find crystal clear waters, secluded beaches and peaceful restaurants. Nearby you can visit sights including Syri I Kaltër (the Blue Eye) – a lake where bubbles create colours that look like an eye, and Butrint, an ancient city and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Where to stay: Hotel Mira Mare is perfectly placed one minute walk from the beach, offering rooms with a terrace and sea or mountain views. With kitchenette facilities available for those looking for a little more independence on their trip, the friendly staff can also help plan excursions to nearby destinations including the popular Butrint National Park.


The data analysts at compared year-over-year international bookings (i.e. excluding domestic travelers) between 2016-17 and 2017-18, from September to August. The selection is based on the most appealing destinations with the highest year-on-year increase. To be included, had to be booked at least 10.000 times in the past year.

** Research commissioned by and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. In total 21,500 respondents were polled (including 1,000 each from Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China, Brazil, India, US, UK Russia, Indonesia, Colombia and South Korea; and 500 each from Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Taiwan, Mexico, Netherlands, Sweden, Singapore and Israel). Respondents completed an online survey between 10 and 30 August 2018.