Each year, the luxury travel network Virtuoso surveys its global membership of travel advisors about trends and expectations in bespoke and experiential travel. Covington vacation advisors, along with network colleagues from 50 countries, participate by sharing our considerable professional experience and intuition. The results are tabulated into the annual Virtuoso Luxe Report that forecasts how and where upscale travelers will choose to discover the world in the next year. We’re excited to share the top emerging destinations for 2019 so you can visit the up-and-coming hot spots before they get overrun.
Top Emerging Destinations for 2019
It didn’t surprise us that Japan took the number one spot for the coming year since we regularly send Covington world explorers there. Japan is a remarkably beautiful land of snow-capped mountains, precisely groomed gardens, and neon skyscrapers. It’s also a land of contrast where you can take the ultra-modern Shinkansen bullet train to Kyoto to visit 8th-century temples and shrines. Or immerse yourself in the ancient culture with a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony then shop for the latest high-tech trends.
Travel Maestro tip: U.S. passport holders do not need a visa for stays up to three months and U.S. dollar enjoys a favorable exchange rate to the Japanese yen.
Sitting along the Adriatic coast, Croatia boasts beautiful beaches, historic cities, Roman ruins, and great food and wine. In the Old City of Dubrovnik, you can walk around the 1.2 miles of intact city walls or take a cable car to Mount Srd above the town for fantastic views. In Split, shops and residences make a living monument out of Diocletian’s Palace (c. 295 AD), once the summer palace of the Roman emperor. Plitvice National Park, with a series of waterfalls, connected lakes and trails is a national favorite for outdoor recreation. The many islands along the Dalmatian Coast offer pristine beaches and azure water for swimming and sailing.
Travel Maestro tip: Croatia has a good tourism infrastructure with multilane highways, international hotels, and friendly people.
Fire and ice from more than 200 volcanoes and many glaciers shaped Iceland’s bizarre landscape. It’s like no other place on Earth. You can swim in naturally heated geothermal pools, trek across glaciers, or ride horseback or jeeps over lunar landscapes. Witness nature at its most breathtaking with stunning waterfalls, surging geysers, and possibly the elusive Northern Lights. Dine on fabulous seafood in any of Reykjavik’s 200 restaurants, then dance to indie music until the wee hours in the energetic nightclubs.
Travel Maestro tip: Weather and road conditions can change very quickly in Iceland. Take a waterproof jacket and don’t stray from paved roads in the winter months when days last only a few hours.
Visitors to Portugal have so many choices. Medieval villages and ruined castles await exploration, as well as UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the ornate Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon and colorful Pena Palace in Sintra. The dramatic scenery of the Douro Valley, not to mention the wines it produces, are enjoying international recognition. The beaches of the Algarve offer every kind of watersport, as well as horseback riding and golf resorts.
Travel Maestro tip: Fado is the traditional Portuguese music genre. Its haunting, melancholic tunes are often accompanied by a mandolin and about the sea and loss.
The great monuments of the Nile Valley have been awing travelers for thousands of years. Power struggles during the Arab Spring of the early 2010’s curtailed tourism but unrest has stabilized. Western visitors once again find the draw of Egypt’s amazing antiquities hard to resist and Egyptian businesses welcome them with open arms. Of course, the pharaonic temples and tombs are must-sees but beyond the Nile Valley, explorers enjoy safari trips into the White Desert and the lush oases of Siwa. Alexandria is the place for Greco-Roman history; go to the reefs of Sharm el-Sheikh on the Red Sea for snorkeling and diving, and golfers can find plenty of world-class golf courses.
Travel Maestro tip: Egypt’s best-kept secret is janzabil, the hot, spicy ginger drink that the Quran calls “the promise of paradise.” It’s the perfect respiratory and digestive tract cleanser available at most sidewalk cafes.
Further travel predictions from the Virtuoso Luxe Report suggest that personalization with a “capital P” will be the fashionable travel trend. Talk to your Covington vacation advisor to personalize your next trip with unique and memorable experiences designed especially for you.