1 March 2024

Your passport to adventure: The experts' tips on best travel destinations in 2024

| Rama Gaind
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cherry blossoms

The magic of cherry blossoms in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Rama Gaind.

There is no one-size-fits-all – or shall we say one specific answer – when it comes to choosing a favourite holiday destination. Opinions differ because it depends on who you ask – globally. Choices vary, from person to person and among families.

What’s obvious is there has been a resurgence in the number of people taking holidays to all corners of the world in 2023. Travel is set to see sustained momentum this year. So, what are the tourism trends in 2024?

“Local gastronomy, nature, wellness and rural tourism experiences will take centre stage in travel in 2024,” says Sandra Carvao, director of market, intelligence and competitiveness at the World Tourism Organisation.

Trending destinations, according to American Express Travel 2024: off the beaten track, include the Adelaide Hills and Udaipur, India. If you seek an Australian rural retreat, consider the Adelaide Hills. Just outside of Adelaide and a three-hour flight from Sydney, this fabled wine region has charming villages and a bustling culinary scene.

Nairobi, Kenya, has achieved global recognition as the top city to visit in 2024, according to the Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2024 guide. Why? The travel giant loves the Kenyan capital for its “unique rhythms, impressive array of locally inspired restaurants, and steady rotation of arts and culture venues”.

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It’s also loved for the Nairobi National Park, just a short drive out of the city’s central business district, where you can see more than 400 species roaming the open grass plains while skyscrapers twinkle on the skyline.

After Nairobi, the other cities listed are: Paris, France (host of the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics); Montreal, Canada; Mostar, Bosnia; Philadelphia, USA; Manaus, Brazil; Jakarta, Indonesia; Prague, Czech Republic (COVID-19 lockdown has allowed the Czech capital to “hit the reset button” and to promote “slow tourism and attractions away from the city centre”); Izmir, Turkey; and Kansas City, Missouri.

South Australia’s Kangaroo Island sits in the No. 2 regional position as it proudly showcases its distinct local produce, abundant wildlife, natural experiences and some of the nation’s most pristine beaches.

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2024 also delivers a new take on popular destinations such as Japan; Tuscany, Italy; and Mexico; and unearths some lesser-known gems like Uzbekistan; Ikaria, Greece; and Izmir, Turkey.

koala in a tree

Winding roads weave among vineyards and bushland, and nature hikes offer a rare chance to see a koala in the South Australia region. Photo: Supplied.

The Adelaide Hills are ripe for a visit. This stunning South Australian region produces some of the continent’s finest cool-climate pinot noirs and chardonnays, not to mention delicious fruit and vegetables. Its many excellent restaurants, cellars and tasting rooms make it one of the most palate-pleasing getaways in Australia.

Winding roads weave among vineyards and bushland, and nature hikes (like the one up Mt Lofty) offer a rare chance to see a koala in the wild. Take your pick of charming tree-lined villages, including historically German settlements with attractive stone buildings, outdoor cafes, excellent winery options and craft shops.

In Udaipur, Rajasthan’s uber-romantic city of lakes and palaces, the sense of historical grandeur is magical. The biggest single attraction of ”the white city” is its main palace complex, a granite-and-marble riot of cupolas and balconies that looks like something out of an exotic fairytale. Like many of Udaipur’s celebrated buildings, it sits on one of the city’s seven canal-connected lakes. The most swoon-worthy of these monuments, a 17th-century island palace named Jag Mandir, rises from the glassy waters as though it’s floating!

As part of CNN Travel’s global guide Best Places To Go in 2024, turn your attention to the Kimberley in Western Australia. Go for pristine wilderness newly accessible by cruise, and First Nations cultural immersions. In Broome, a coastal town and a gateway to the Kimberley, tourism projects are heating up too.

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In Australia’s Northern Rivers, go for adaptive surfing, immersive hiking and stylish ranches. Made up of a patchwork of coastal towns and linked via scenic drives that take you along stunning Pacific beaches, lush valleys and rainforests, this region has long been a popular destination for road-tripping, surfing and trekking.

grand Indian palace

Historical grandeur is evident in the palace complex in Udaipur, India. Photo: Rama Gaind.

According to Tripadvisor, Asia secures the top-five places in the world’s trending destinations, which identify that have seen the greatest year-on-year interest growth, and make up eight out of the top-10 destinations. Tokyo, Japan, is top for 2024, followed by Seoul, South Korea, and Halong Bay, Vietnam. Central and South America are the only other regions to make the top 10.

Travel Associates’ 2024 luxury travel bucket list includes the pristine beaches of the Maldives and the cultural richness of Mongolia. The list is endless! Stunning experiences await: what are you going to tick off next on your dream travel wish list?

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