5There’s

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - WISHLIST 2019 TRENDS -

TUR­KEY

It slipped off the radar amid un­rest and in­sta­bil­ity in re­cent years, but now Aussie trav­ellers are jump­ing back on the Tur­key band­wagon in droves, chas­ing bucket-list sights like the In­sta-hot ther­mal pools of Pa­mukkale, blue la­goon beaches at Olu­d­eniz and oth­er­worldly land­scapes of Cap­pado­cia.

In­trepid Travel re­ports a 132 per cent in­crease in Aussies trav­el­ling to Tur­key in the past year, and cruise line Re­gent Seven Seas is gear­ing up to re­turn to Tur­key in 2019. Mak­ing Tur­key even more at­trac­tive for 2019 is a new, state-of-the-art in­ter­na­tional air­port, just opened in Is­tan­bul.

OK­I­NAWA, JA­PAN

Aus­tralia’s ob­ses­sion with Ja­pan just keeps on grow­ing – and it’s not only the snow that has got us hooked, now it’s the snorkelling, too. The beaches of the re­mote south­ern is­land chain of Ok­i­nawa are beck­on­ing to a ris­ing con­tin­gent of trav­ellers. A new air­port ter­mi­nal is set to open in the re­gion at Shi­moji-shima in March 2019, with more ac­cess to the Miyako Is­lands when Jet­star Ja­pan adds daily flights there in ad­di­tion to its Ok­i­nawa Naha sched­ule.

Ok­i­nawa re­gion is grow­ing as a cruise des­ti­na­tion, too, with plans un­der way to de­velop into a hub dubbed “the Car­ib­bean of Asia”.

COLOM­BIA

For years Colom­bia was a place tourists by­passed in favour of Peru or Chile. Now it’s emerg­ing from the shadow of its trou­bled past as one of South Amer­ica’s big­gest draw­cards, boast­ing Car­ib­bean coast­line, spec­tac­u­lar moun­tain scenery and the Lost City Trek – Colom­bia’s an­swer to the Inca Trail.

Qan­tas has added Colom­bia to its net­work (via a LATAM code­share) and the coun­try is be­com­ing a hotspot for new ho­tels – Hilton has opened five in the past year and has plans for more.

Per­haps thanks to Net­flix’s Nar­cos, new Skyscanner stats rank the coun­try’s sec­ond city, Medellin, among the top trend­ing des­ti­na­tions for Aussie trav­ellers.

CAM RANH, VIET­NAM

Tipped to emerge as a ri­val Phuket or Bali in the com­ing years, Cam Ranh is Asia’s next big beach des­ti­na­tion. The cen­tre­piece is Long Beach. Since open­ing in June, the new Cam Ranh in­ter­na­tional air­port has been adding new air­lines with con­nec­tions through­out Asia, mak­ing it eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble for Aussies via Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok.

New re­sorts set to open in 2019 in­clude a Möven­pick and Radis­son Blu, while the five-star Anam opened last year. Add to that a newly opened Greg Nor­man-de­signed golf course, 300 days of sun­shine a year, and the 10km white sand strip known as Long Beach, and it’s no won­der this des­ti­na­tion is tak­ing off.

ETHIOPIA

no deny­ing Ethiopia is the hottest place on Earth (lit­er­ally: its Dal­lol re­gion reg­u­larly reaches 45C and has been nick­named the “gate­way to hell”). But it has also been pop­ping up on all global travel hot lists and now Aus­tralians are start­ing to take note, with tour com­pany G Ad­ven­tures re­port­ing a 98 per cent rise in Ethiopia travel over the past 12 months.

Why? Well, for starters, it’s home to nine World Her­itage sites – more than any other African coun­try – and the pic­turesque Semien Moun­tains, where vis­i­tors can spot Ge­lada ba­boons, only found in Ethiopia.

NEW CALE­DO­NIA

Not only does it have World Her­itage-listed reefs and pic­turesque beaches, New Cale­do­nia is only a twohour flight from Bris­bane or a cheap cruise away.

When the spot­light shone on New Cale­do­nia as the back­drop for 2018’s The Bach­e­lor fi­nale, it took Aus­tralia’s love af­fair with the coun­try to the next level. Hits on the na­tional tourism body’s web­site dou­bled af­ter the show aired, with We­b­jet re­port­ing a 70 per cent jump in New Cale­do­nia searches in the past 12 months. An­other rea­son to go now is that it could be the end of New Cale­do­nia as we know it. The coun­try is ex­pected to vote again in 2020 on whether to re­main a French ter­ri­tory or be­come in­de­pen­dent, which could lead to a name change.

FAR EAST RUS­SIA

The 2018 World Cup lured Aussie soc­cer lovers to Rus­sia in droves (Flight Cen­tre recorded al­most a 30 per cent uptick in book­ings) but the coun­try looks set to con­tinue to at­tract ad­ven­tur­ous Aussies in 2019.

Mos­cow, St Peters­burg, the Tran­sSiberian Rail­way and river cruises are ma­jor at­trac­tions but for those seek­ing a des­ti­na­tion truly off the beaten path, the re­mote Far East of Rus­sia is beck­on­ing.

Siberia’s re­mote Kam­chatka Penin­sula, dot­ted with ac­tive vol­ca­noes, is open­ing up to ex­pe­di­tion cruises, with Sil­versea and World Ex­pe­di­tions among those set to visit in 2019, with vis­its to the farflung Kuril Is­lands among high­lights.

ROT­TNEST IS­LAND, WESTERN AUS­TRALIA

Long loved by Perth lo­cals, Rot­tnest Is­land is now mak­ing a name for it­self across the world in a big way. A new glamp­ing re­sort, Dis­cov­ery Rot­tnest Is­land, opens in March, turn­ing the heads of in­ter­na­tional me­dia – par­tic­u­larly since the launch of Qan­tas’s much-feted Perth-Lon­don route last year means the WA cap­i­tal is only a di­rect flight from Europe.

The next few months are set to be the is­land’s “big­gest sum­mer yet”, ac­cord­ing to Tourism WA, with a bunch of new tours and ex­pe­ri­ences in­clud­ing sub­sea scooter tours and un­der­sea hel­met walks now on of­fer. Celebs from around the world have been lend­ing star power to the is­land’s pro­file – so if you haven’t got your own quokka selfie yet, what are you wait­ing for?

SER­BIA

It has been la­belled the new Ber­lin, and cheap flights, hap­pen­ing nightlife, renowned food scene and new ho­tels are pro­pel­ling Ser­bian cap­i­tal Bel­grade onto the radar for Aus­tralians. Skyscanner stats show in­ter­est has jumped 32 per cent in 2018, co­in­cid­ing with a 10 per cent drop in flight prices.

Bel­grade is un­der­go­ing a ho­tel boom with five-star new­com­ers in­clud­ing a just-opened Hilton and St Regis slated to open in 2020.

Although its nat­u­ral at­trac­tions aren’t as cel­e­brated as neighbouring Croa­tia’s, there’s more to Ser­bia than just the city, with five na­tional parks in­clud­ing the dra­matic canyon of Tara Na­tional Park a high­light of the county’s five na­tional parks.

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