GLT went to the launch of ABTA’s Travel Trends 2020 report to find out about the destinations for groups to look out for next year.
Scroll through the picture gallery above to see where made the list and see below for a few suggestions on what to do in each place.
1. Basilicata, Italy
A UNESCO world heritage site and European Capital of Culture for 2019, Matera has undergone a renaissance in recent years, with many of the ancient Sassi cave dwellings that characterise the town being converted into hotels, cafes and art galleries. The seaside town of Maratea is a great base for the lovely surrounding villages; think of a more relaxed version of the Amalfi coast.
2. Chicago and Lake Michigan
If you’re looking for a good time, then Chicago is very much your kind of town, easily accessible with direct flights from the UK. Jazz and Blues clubs are everywhere and the city hosts hundreds of gigs and concerts throughout the year; in fact it has designated 2020 the ’Year of Chicago Music’. Lake Michigan is also extremely beautiful with dramatic cliffs, tranquil sand dunes and beaches.
Tbilisi is a lively, fun city with great restaurants and wine bars. The Georgian countryside is very green and largely unspoilt, with 70% covered in forests. Georgia is home to UNESCO world heritage sites including the atmospheric Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta. Perhaps the country’s greatest draw is its open and friendly people who regard visitors as welcome and honoured guests.
Grenada is incredibly fertile, and its green hills are full of fruit, nut and spice bearing trees and chocolate also grows happily on the island. Visit the Grand Etang National Park with its gorgeous volcanic lake surrounded by lush rain forest. The capital St. George’s is a very attractive place with bars and restaurants; after lunch head off for the impressive views from its colonial forts.
5. Madrid and its neighbouring cities
Culture loving groups are spoilt for choice with over 60 museums. Four neighbouring cities are all very different and all quite exceptional. Toledo, a beautiful city enriched through its rich Christian, Moorish and Jewish cultural heritage; Segovia with its fairytale castle the Alcazar; Ávila, rising out of the plain with its intact medieval walls and Cuenca, a unique place with its signature cliff-top hanging houses.
The ancient city of Marrakesh is home to the unforgettable street theatre of the Djemaa El Fna square and the beautifully well-preserved medieval city of Fez. For another side of the country head into the mountains for hiking trails, beautiful waterfalls and picturesque Berber villages.
Head to Etosha National Park for elephants, big cats, antelope and the eerie Skeleton Coast, strewn with shipwrecks and whale bones. The traditional peoples of Namibia, the Himba in the north west and San of the Kalahari are fascinating and and time spent with them is said to be a highlight of any trip.
There is no more impressive airport on the planet than Singapore’s Jewel Changi, which regularly tops polls as the world’s best. Singapore effortlessly combines the modern with its very distinguished history, epitomised by the recently refurbished iconic Raffles and Barracks Sentosa hotels. It’s also a very green city, surrounded by jungle and delightful walking trails along with the UNESCO world heritage listed Botanic Gardens.
9. South Korea
The capital Seoul is a vibrant, modern and bustling city; groups can visit a traditional tearoom in the Insadong for a taste of old Korea. Spring is a great time of year to visit with the cherry trees in bloom and celebrated in blossom festivals. Korea’s coast is dotted with over 3,000 islands, well connected with ferries that make for a relaxing trip.
10. The Netherlands
Easily accessible via a short ferry ride or direct on the Eurostar to Amsterdam and Rotterdam, The Netherlands has always punched above its weight artistically. Next year, more adventurous travellers are encouraged to visit other lesser known gems, such as Delft, Haarlem and Utrecht – smaller, quieter versions of Amsterdam.
The capital Montevideo has elegant art deco buildings, cafes and restaurants while the UNESCO world heritage site of La Colonia is a lovely little cobbled town. Groups can stay on one of the ranches in Tacuarembó for an experience with a difference.
12. Vienna, Austria
The city’s coffee houses and rich cakes are rightly world renowned, but a pleasant surprise are the many good value restaurants. The city is particularly lovely in the winter snow with many Christmas markets, especially outside the magnificent town hall or Rathaus.