FROM the far-flung to the unsung, British Airways has compiled its top 13 destinations to visit in 2013. If 2012 was about East London, then 2013 is about the Far East – as holidaymakers seek the natural unspoilt beauty, charm and good-value that Asia has to offer.
Richard Tams, British Airways head of UK & I sales, said, “undoubtedly consumers will continue to be driven by value-for-money next year, with routes such as Dubai, Cape Town and Bangkok already proving popular. We’re also experiencing a real growth in Asia right now and responding to demand with a number of new routes, including Seoul and Sri Lanka.”
In a recent poll on the airline’s Facebook page, over 2,660 users nominated the overseas destinations they most want to visit next year. New York topped the list (22 per cent), followed by Australia (eight per cent), Hong Kong (seven per cent), Rio de Janeiro (five per cent) and Dubai (three per cent).
Compiled by a panel of experts and using company data, British Airways’ top 13 for 2013 features new destinations and popular favourites, as follows:
• Sri Lanka
The ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean,’ the tropical island of Sri Lanka has seen a recent boost to tourism, becoming the must-visit destination for intrepid travellers.
Ash van Wensveen, British Airways’ destination manager, said, “there’s a real buzz about Sri Lanka right now. For a small island it offers a lot, from endless beaches, to elephant treks and several Unesco world heritage sites to visit – it’s hard to think what Sri Lanka doesn’t offer.”
The airline launches flights to Colombo in April 2013, starting from £721 return.
• Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
If the afterglow of the London 2012 Games has left you longing for more, then its next host Rio is the place to visit, as it gears up to 2016 Games, the 2014 Brazil World Cup, and FIFA Confederations Cup next year. With its famous sun-kissed beaches to enjoy by day and fun parties at night, there’s a lot to love about one of the most vibrant cities in the world.
• Seoul, Korea
Gangnam style may have awakened our senses to Korea, but there’s a lot more to Seoul than ‘K-pop music! Mike Rock, British Airways commercial manager Seoul, said, “there’s a lot happening in Korea right now, business is thriving and it’s a tourist destination on the up. The mega metropolis is home to some 10 million people, and is attracting a fresh new audience.”
The jewel of the Adriatic ocean, Dubrovnik continues to appeal to holidaymakers from far and wide, including many high profile celebrities. 2013 will be a big year for Croatia, as the country joins the EU in July. One-way flights to Dubrovnik start at £59.
Vietnam has become one of the most talked about destinations in recent years. Its capital Hanoi is rapidly attracting a crowd of adventurous travellers, looking to soak up the local culture of which there’s plenty. Not mainstream enough to be a tourist trap, many compare it to Thailand twenty years ago – making now the perfect time to visit.
• Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Nestled in the Spanish Caribbean Punta Cana is earning itself a reputation as a great value destination for family holidays.
Ash van Wensveen, British Airways’ destination manager, said: “People are really waking up to Punta Cana. There’s a real buzz from holidaymakers creating word of mouth on its affordability, fabulous hotels and beaches that dip into the Caribbean Sea.”
• Derry, Northern Ireland
Voted as the City of Culture for 2013, there’s never been a better time to visit Derry. Just over an hour from Belfast, it’s a great destination for a city break, especially to enjoy the many celebrations and cultural events taking place there next year.”
Flights to Belfast start at £81 one-way.
• Las Vegas, U.S.A
The classics never go out of fashion, and with more services to Sin City than ever before, tourists hoping to party like Prince Harry need look no further! Top-end hotels, theatrical shows, exquisite restaurants and all-night entertainment continue to draw the crowds.
• Tbilisi, Georgia
Georgia’s capital has enjoyed a makeover, with a number of new restaurants and hotels opening.
British Airways’ head of UK and I sales, Richard Tams, said, “with its scenic walks, charming town, vineyards and local wine and cognac to enjoy, Tbilisi is perfect for a cultural weekend away and is already attracting couples and grown up stag nights!” Flights to Tbilisi, from £399 return.
• San Diego, U.S.A
In the year that San Diego’s Ron Burgundy returns to the big screen with Anchorman 2, the city reminds us why it’s still classy. Great for golf, excellent for eating, brilliant for barhopping, California’s best kept secret is a great place to visit any time of year. Flights to San Diego, from £677 return.
• Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is a highlight of any trip to Southern Africa. The natural beauty of Cape Town makes it one of the most attractive cities in the world. Cape Town boasts beautiful beaches, as well as, the impressive Table Mountain right in the heart of the city. The restaurants are world class, and so are the wines. Cape Town is also one of the most culturally diverse cities in Africa and has reputation for social tolerance.
The Spanish do fiesta like no one else and Alicante is a great city for those who prefer to fiesta than siesta! The Old Town offers dozens of bars and restaurants for after dark, and is also host to a growing number of festivals. During the day the local markets are buzzing, and sandy beaches welcoming.
Ever-popular Dubai continues to attract travellers with its Middle Eastern charm. It recently launched a ‘Hello Kitty’ spa, and boasts its own indoor ski slope.
Ash van Wensveen, British Airways destination manager, said, “Dubai has become more affordable over the past few years, yet still offers super high-end hotels and unrivalled luxury.”