Audley Travel, a leader in providing tailor-made journeys, has published their annual ‘Where to Go’ list for 2015. Factoring in customer data, new international developments and industry trends, Audley has outlined the top five hottest and up-and-coming destinations for the coming year. This list includes:
- Vietnam will celebrate the 70th anniversary of its independence from France in 2015. Expect celebrations throughout the country.
- New Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park Experience: Audley is launching trips centered around exploring the recently unearthed cave network in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, which is the largest in the world. Located in the northwest of Vietnam close to the border with Laos, the Hang Son Doong cave system is home to the planet’s largest deposit of limestone and spans 200 meters wide, 150 meters high and 9 kilometers long. It houses the largest cave and longest underground river in the world and is also part of the largest single block of limestone in the world. Travelers can camp inside the cave, enjoy jungle walks and treks, kayaking and mountain biking in the surrounding jungles, and share in a traditional Vietnamese barbecue. It’s new, it’s adventurous, and it’s culturally immersive.
- A stable economy and iconic sites such as Torres del Paine, Easter Island and the Atacama Desert are a perfect recipe for increased demand. Throw into the mix a new and interesting option on Chiloe Island. Chiloe is home to Castro, a unique town built on stilts, penguin colonies, blue whale watching and is surrounded by Fjords.
- New Hotel: Tierra hotels have opened their third property in the country and is a great alternative to the conventional Lake District tours with all the service trimmings that you’d expect from Tierra in Chile (Tierra Atacama and Tierra Patagonia are established iconic hotels in the country).
- New Airlift: The national carrier, LAN, now flies to Castro four days a week from Santiago, opening up this corner of Central Chile.
- Movie Tourism:The Hobbit 3 (debuting November 2014) is generating an increase interest to New Zealand. New Zealand’s International Visitor Survey shows that 13% of all international visitors surveyed July 2013 - June 2014, said The Hobbit was a factor in stimulating their interest in New Zealand as a destination.
- New Hotel: There is a highly anticipated Sofitel opening up in Wellington (set for mid- 2015), which will fill a massive hole in the five-star market there, leading to increased interest and visitation from the luxury visitor.
- One of the few Middle Eastern countries American travelers can still visit. Audley has seen an increase in US enquiries for Jordan from travelers seeking off-the-beaten-track walking opportunities in some of the country’s nature reserves which are well maintained by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature.
- Best Value: The destination remains at the top of traveler’s buck lists as it offers superb value right now. The African safari remains to be one of the top bucket list items for American travelers, and South Africa has some of the easiest flight connections, most balanced tour offerings from five-star luxury lodges, to shark diving, wine tasting and Zulu culture.