When it comes to travel, 2016 was the year of Havana. After half a century of being off-limits, Americans could finally visit Cuba again and our Instagram feeds were flooded with images of the historic island. In 2017, think beyond the over-crowded capital and look for a more authentic experience in the smaller towns like historic Trinidad.
Twenty seventeen is also, officially, the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, as declared by the United Nations. Travelers are becoming more and more aware of the footprint they leave behind, and increasingly conscientious of endangered sites and animals around the world. Due to climate change, animal poaching, and urban sprawl, there are species and places that might not exist in the future, so the time to see them is now and high on our list is Greenland, a refreshing alternative to Iceland, and the Glacier National Park in Montana.
We’ve consulted travel industry experts and rounded up some of the most alluring destinations for 2017, from foodie hotspots like Jerusalem and Montreal, to the It vacation island in China.
The Indian economy has been performing better than it has in a while and airlines are responding by increasing domestic and international flights to and around India. The country in general will continue to be a key travel destination in 2017, but the bewitching town of Hampi, home to dramatic ancient ruins (a UNESCO World Heritage site area), finally has luxe accommodations–the new [Orange County, Hampi]–to make your visit worthwhile.
“Sanya is booming,” hotelier Ian Schrager told W and a recent interview about his newest Edition in Sanya, China. “It is the vacation island of choice for the Chinese people. You have a big representation of just about every major [hotel] brand in Sanya right now.”
Iceland’s viral ad campaigns have paid off big time and the secret is out. While it’s still an amazing place to go as long as you are able to avoid the massive crowds at the main attractions, try something a little less Instagrammed and head to the more remote Greenland. Check out the Greenland ice cap and the breathtaking fjords and, of course, the Northern Lights.
Japan“Japan has been drawing more and more interest in part because of the new luxury properties like the Aman’s that have opened and the Four Seasons in Kyoto,” said Melissa Biggs Bradley, founder and chief executive of the high-end travel company and website Indagare. “But what really fascinates everyone who visits are the incredible traditions around everything from the food to shopping and even bathing.” Zipping between Kyoto and Tokyo is easy thanks the train and plane options already available, but there’s also a affordable rail pass for the new bullet train, the Hokuriku Shinkansen, that makes Kanazawa (a city—a UNESCO Creative City on the Sea of Japan—known for its beautiful gardens and impressive temples, also within reach for travelers.
Glacier National Park
“I think that as people become ever more aware of the fragility of wildernesses, they are drawn to regions that have been preserved like Montana,” said Indagare’s Bradley. Glacier National Park in Montana is one of the world’s most impressive natural wonders and its glaciers are rapidly disappearing.
Known primarily as a historic jewel, Jerusalem has more to offer with its bustling contemporary art scene and, surprisingly, a burgeoning Latin-fusion food and cocktail scene. As for accommodations, the newly redesigned, Royal Rabin Suite at David’s Citadel is pure luxury that offers sweeping views of the Old City.
The Vegas of the Middle East has experienced tremendous growth in the past two years and according to Expedia’s air travel forecast for 2017, it will continue to grow in a big way. Dubai has become home to some of the most over-the-top, luxury hotels in the world and top culinary talents and with that, come people ready to spend big money.
Mexico CityWith its trendy art and culinary scene, Mexico City has been on in-the-know travelers’ radar for several years now and last year, the New York Times pegged it as a top destination to watch. According to Expedia’s air travel forecast for 2017, it will remain as an in-demand city for travelers in the year ahead.
CanadaThe Great White North celebrates its 150th birthday this year and across the board, travel experts are pegging the cities of Canada as key destinations for 2017. For New Yorkers, Montreal (which celebrates its 375th birthday this year) is such an easy weekend getaway (just a one-hour flight). Come ready to eat and perhaps by pants one size larger when you leave because this is a phenomenal food city. Perhaps most notably, there’s chef Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly’s new Marconi restaurant that you’ll want to check out. Also, make sure to buy a Discovery pass for free entry into all the country's parks.
BermudaThis June, the island of Bermuda will play host to the 35th America’s Cup sailing race. In preparation for the big race and the slew of wealthy visitors who come with it, the 132-year-old Hamilton Princess & Beach Club has just had a massive makeover, adding a in impressive art collection, a spa, and food by none other than chef Marcus Samuelsson.
Cuba's Other Cities“Havana has become way too crowded to properly enjoy,” said Indagare’s Bradley. Instead, explore some of Cuba’s smaller gems, like the cobbled-town of Trinidad or Viñales Valley National Park (both about a three-hour drive from Havana), where you can ride horseback and visit coffee plantations and tobacco farms.