Top 10 travel trends for 2020
Discovering Zimbabwe after years of political instability, exploring India beyond the iconic sights and visiting Canada in the coolest season are all part of our latest Travel Forecast, where our experts pick the top travel trends for 2020.
Beyond the Golden Triangle
Interest in India is on the up, according to Kuoni whose latest collection aims to showcase some of the lesser-known regions of the subcontinent to attract clients who have already “done” the Golden Triangle and are looking to explore new areas in a more authentic way. The aim is to look beyond the well-trodden tourist trails, seen as crucial in combating overtourism. It will also extend visitors’ spending power as far as the Himalayas in the north to Kerala in the south, as well as to less familiar national parks. The collection has a strong focus on the experiences that make India unique from exploring the local area by foot or on bike with a guide or reliving The Jungle Book in Bandhavgarh National Park where there is a chance to spot tigers. In a new move Kuoni’s brand ambassador Anita Rani gives insight about unique travel experiences with a guide to Indian Street Food travelling from north to south. All of the itineraries in the brochure can be tailor-made to the customers’ own requirements.
Back after years of political instability
A bold choice, but tourism is one of the few chances Zimbabwe has to rebuild its fragile economy. Kuoni is giving customers the chance to rediscover its potential and has added a selection of safari camps and lodges, which have been hand-picked with adventurous travellers in mind, with activities ranging from a wild walk in Mana Pools National Park, to a sunset river cruise down the Zambezi. Hwange National Park is one of the true African wonders; less well known but an equal to Kruger or the Serengeti. And Victoria Falls needs no introduction: it’s perfect for adrenaline junkies after a fix of white water rafting and other energetic activities, or simply those who want to admire ‘the Smoke that Thunders’.
Elsewhere in Africa, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have highlighted the continued importance of conservation. Kuoni’s Porini Wilderness Safari in Kenya offers an authentic African experience with a strong theme of sustainability. Using only local guides, Porini lease Maasai land putting money back into local communities.
Direct flights to Charleston and Portland increase demand
Forever evolving, America always has something new to offer. For seasoned visitors or first-time travellers, the focus is on the off beat and unexpected, aided by direct flights to alternative gateways such as Charleston for the Carolinas andPortland for the Pacific Northwest..
Getting away from the crowds is a goal once again, whether staying in Brooklyn as opposed to Midtown for New York, or swapping the wine lands of California for the Pacific Northwest. Road trips are a focus with a new self-drive through Oregon that promotes the region’s wineries, craft breweries and field-to-fork dining scene.
Back east, consider the fall colours on display in Acadia National Park, a highlight on a new self-drive tour in New England. Or in New York, discover the latest additions to its iconic skyline: The Shed is the expanding and contracting performance space at the Hudson Yards development, and Thomas Heatherwick’s Vessel is an extraordinary Honeycomb-like structure –part sculpture, part viewing space. The William Vale boutique hotel in Brooklyn is well connected to Manhattan by subway, allowing easy access to the big sites while staying somewhere cool and local.
16 new hotels added across the region
Synonymous with luxury, the islands of the Indian Ocean each have their own identity, and remain Kuoni’s best-sellers for 2020. New hotels add an extra dimension for 2020. The Lux* Grand Gaube on Mauritius features a fresh new design from Kelly Hoppen, its cool white wood matching the warm white sand on the beach – while the adults-only Lagoon Attitude has a strong sustainable ethos and an innovative approach with zones offering alternative vibes in each including lively, local or laid-back.
In the Maldives Kuoni offers a choice of 37 resorts, which includes the addition of two new properties including Reethi Faru and OBLU Select at Sangeli which blends an adults-only island with a larger family-friendly option.
Interest in the Seychelles remains strong thanks to the BA direct flight. New to the Seychelles programme is Hilton’s Northolme Resort and Spa on Mahe, a collection of stylish hillside villas not far from capital Victoria – about the closest the Indian Ocean gets to cosmopolitan bustle.
Luxury credentials on the up for 2020
Time and time again, old favourites remind us why they are so popular in the first place. Never more so than the Mediterranean, where the classical world confronts the present and the beach is only part of the attraction. Celebrities still favour the likes of Mykonos and Santorini, and it is easy to follow in their footsteps thanks to a number new luxury properties in the Greek programme. The Angsana in Corfu is a notable addition – an offshoot of the Banyan Tree brand, it is cool and contemporary and mimics a classic Greek hilltop village. Luxury abounds elsewhere: Mystique, for example, suits sybaritic fans of Santorini, while the Elounda Gulf Villas in Crete is perfect for honeymoons and families who want the privacy of a villa but with access to a boutique-hotel style spa, restaurants and pool.
Cap any break off with a stylish city stay: the Acropolis Museum in Athens celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, bringing the peak of classical civilisation to life once again.
Colombia, Madagascar, Turkey, Greece and Israel added to Kuoni collection
A group tour can open the door to a destination in a way that an independent trip sometimes can’t – such is the benefit of having a knowledgeable local guide. For some truly one-off experiences – be it a boutique hotel overlooking the Great Wall of China, or a cruise down the Ganges – check out Kuoni’s escorted touring collection, where a focus on sustainable, community oriented excursions is coming to the fore. Colombia features in the programme for the first time, with a 12-night tour taking in the country’s coffee-growing region and the UNESCO-listed old town of Cartagena. Also new for 2020 is Madagascar Wildlife Tour, ideal for a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experience where all of the hard work is taken care of. Closer to home, Turkey, Greece and Israel also join the programme, bringing the ancient civilisations of Europe and the Holy Land into sharp focus.
The buzz continues for Olympic year
Kuoni has been reporting increasing sales to Japan for the past three years and there have beenlots of enquiries and demand for the year ahead.. What next for Japan? The sun has set on the Rugby World Cup, but next year’s Olympics will take sports breaks to the next level. Most of the action takes place in central Tokyo, where the New National Stadium is almost complete. Architect Kengo Kuma’s larch and cedar roof is almost as keenly anticipated as the opening and closing ceremonies. But for the true Japanese sports experience, hold out for Judo at the Nippon Budokan. Built for the 1964 Games, it holds a unique place in pop culture – as famous for hosting the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan as the martial arts duels it was designed for. If you prefer to visit before the crowds of sports fans, the cherry blossom season from March to April really does showcase Japan at its prettiest. Getting outside of the city is essential too – and an experience in itself by Bullet Train. Self-guided tours are not as hard as you think, but the escorted programme is sure to be popular in 2020, before, during and after the Games.
New hotel openings
New hotel openings are on the horizon, raising the bar for luxury travel across the region. The brand new Hammock Cove in Antigua, due to open in December, is a collection of ultra-modern pool villas. Royalton’s debut property in Antigua is a five-star family friendly option with plenty of activities to choose from.
There are other new hotels to choose from across the Caribbean and Mexico collection, from the private Young Island in the Grenadines – with a collection of 29 rustic cottages dotted along the beach – to the expansive Sandals Royal Barbados. Cuba is also shaking things up a bit with the new Melia Internacional on the beach at Varadero. Now is a good time to revisit the island or see it for the first time.
Escape the crowds in winter
Winter breaks to Canada needn’t mean skiing – Kuoni celebrates ‘The Coolest Season’ with a look to the great outdoors, be it hiking through Banff National Park in Alberta, skating on frozen canals in Ontario or Quebec, or observing the Northern Lights from the wide expanse of the Yukon.
Sales for Canada have been growing this year and are strong for 2020, shored up by new product aimed at adventurous travellers looking to avoid the busiest seasons: try spotting grizzlies from the Spirit Bear Lodge in the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, or soak up the views at Glacier View Lodge in Jasper National Park. From here, travellers can brave an outing to the Columbia Icefield Skywalk: the glass observation deck protruding 280m over the Sunwapta Valley below.
Slow travel in Puglia and Basilicata
For decades, Tuscany has been the staple choice for Italian holidays: rolling green hills, well-to-do towns and good living in spades – it ticks every box for food, culture and reliable sunshine. Now we look to the south for more of the same. Puglia and Basilicata make up the heel and instep of Italy’s boot and are the epitome of slow travel in practise. Lecce is seen as the Florence of the south for its stunning Baroque buildings and cultural riches, but working ports such as Monopoli remind us that real life carries on amid the scenic overload – the catch comes in as it always has, due for the market and the region’s excellent restaurants. Accommodation might be a Masseria – former farmhouse – a traditional hotel or even a cave. Matera is known for its sassi, stone houses carved into the cliffs. The hilltop town touched our radar this year when it was named a European City of Culture. Now it has an accolade of an entirely different nature: it is the location for a key scene in the next James Bond film, No Time To Die. It will be interesting to see what stirs more interest, a well-meaning EU initiative, or Daniel Craig in the inevitable Aston Martin.
Kuoni holidays don’t come off the shelf, they are tailor-made by Personal Travel Experts who take the time to get to know you. So, book an appointment in your local Kuoni store for a relaxed chat and we’ll create a holiday that’s right for you. If you have a particular destination in mind, you can get the very best advice from someone who has been there by using our expert finder.
This feature was published on 27th November 2019. The information within this feature is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of print.