Global travel industry disruptor Airbnb, has released the world’s top destinations to travel in 2019.
Based on a combination of searches, bookings and wish lists growth data, they are forecasting growing interest in more off-the-beaten-path regions, cities and towns to explore.
Ranging from a vehicle-free island off the coast of southeastern China’s Xiamen, to the site of Woodstock’s 50th-anniversary celebration next year, Airbnb’s trending list of 19 is skewed more to places where the increased “healthy,” more sustainable and authentic tourism will benefit residents and travellers alike.
Topping the list is Kaikoura, a small coastal town in the South Island.
Heavily damaged by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2016, Kaikoura is staging a marvellous comeback with the strongest increase in both bookings at 295% and a 210% search increase. With train and other transportation services coming back online, avid whale- and seal-watchers will find it easier and easier to experience the town’s notable sperm whale population and historic whaling past.
Following closely is Xiamen, a romantic port city in China. The port city which is surrounded by abundant islands is home to Kulangsu, a pedestrian-only, vehicle-free island just off the coast that is ideal for local seafood-loving couples. If travelling solo, learn how to bake bread at a local dessert studio or experience nightlife like a local on a pub crawl with host Cong.
At number three is Puebla, a historical city that provides a unique alternative to the typical Mexican beach vacation. With a 240% search increase, this city has seen tremendous inbound growth and wanderlust despite 2017’s earthquake. Travellers can experience the best of the city’s architectural and culinary history through a cooking class with host Andrea or for the more sporty types, ringside tickets to a live lucha libre.
Normandy, France had a 229% increase in bookings making it the fourth top destination to visit in 2019. 2019 will mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings making it the ideal time for them to visit. Only a two-hour train ride from Paris, locals and travellers can experience the region’s lush landscapes, architectural gems, and Route du Camembert, the trail named after the popular cheese.
Capping the top five is Great Smoky Mountains in the U.S. It is home to America’s most visited national park due to its central location, general ease in getting there, and affordability. Nature-lovers can also revel in the varied plants and animals in the area as its part of UNESCO’s International Biosphere Reserve. The Great Smoky Mountains had a 191% increase in its bookings.
Below is the complete lists of this year’s top 19 destinations, according to Airbnb:
- Kaikoura, New Zealand
- Xiamen, China
- Puebla, Mexico
- Normandy, France
- Great Smoky Mountains, United States
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Accra, Ghana
- Outer Hebrides, Scotland
- Wakayama Prefecture, Japan
- Catskill Mountains and the Hudson Valley, United States
- Santa Catarina State, Brazil
- Batumi, Georgia
- Winnipeg, Canada
- Pondicherry, India
- Calabria, Italy
- Andalusia, Spain
Image Credits: Airbnb