Where will Australians travel to next year? Skyscanner did some research and has the list of top 10 destinations that will surge in popularity in 2015.
Rather than tried and tested holiday spots in the UK, US and Indonesia, 2015 will see Aussie travellers explore destinations offering a mix of culture, adventure and a touch of luxury in exotic locations in Central America and South East Asia. They will also ditch frequented European destinations, although Mykonos in Greece still makes the cut after a renewed rush in popularity this last year.
Three countries in Central and South America make the Skyscanner’s list. Nicaragua narrowly beats Brazil in popularity, with a 48% increase in flight searches compared to Brazil’s 45% increase. Panama comes in third with a 10% increase in searches from Australia.
Closer to home in the Asia Pacific, Aussies have plucked up the courage to venture farther than Bali. Skyscanner’s data shows the hottest destinations next year will be Myanmar (59% search increase), Okinawa (26% search increase) and Colombo, Sri Lanka (19% search increase).
For those who know that ‘winter is coming’, interest in Iceland – the backdrop for many ‘Game of Thrones’ episodes – continues to grow, with flight searches from Australia increasing by 32%.
These predictions are based on the analysis of Skyscanner flight search data from the last three years, combined with qualitative research carried out by futurology companies, The Future Laboratory and Trendhunter, to provide additional insight on consumer trends and influences.
So here’s our list of top 10 destinations for 2015:
Seoul, South Korea
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Commenting on the findings, Skyscanner’s Dave Boyte said, “Skyscanner’s more than 30 million searches to the site every month worldwide means we can predict with some confidence the kind of travel trends we’ll see in 2015. We have also conducted further research looking at other factors that stimulate interest in a destination, like festivals, new hotels and infrastructure improvements. The result is a robust picture of the hottest destinations for Aussies next year and hopefully something to inspire travellers around the country.”
Read on for more about the top destinations!
With flight searches from Australia up by 56%, Myanmar will be welcoming hordes of travellers in 2015. The country’s luxury accommodation offer is set to boom with some of the travel industry’s biggest names rushing to move in. By 2017, the Hilton Group plans to have five new hotels, while Shangri-La Group, Pan Pacific Hotels Groups and Best Western are all in planning stages.
Read about the 8 best things to do in Myanmar.
2. Mykonos, Greece
With a range of celebs including Ronaldo, Naomi Campbell and Lindsay Lohan flocking to the Greek party town and its luxury hotels in 2014, Mykonos is experiencing somewhat of a revival with an increase of 8% in flight searches from Australia (15% globally). Further endorsement by Superstar DJs such as Afrojack, who has claimed that tourists will get a “cheaper and more fun” experience in Mykonos than in Ibiza, combined with the opening of new luxury hotels, ensures the destination will become the hip place to be seen in next year.
Iceland’s spectacular juxtaposed scenery – featuring some of the world’s most active volcanoes and geo-thermal springs, alongside Europe’s largest glacier – has already won it starring roles in HBO’s hugely successful ‘Game of Thrones’ series, as well as recent Hollywood major releases such as ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’, ‘Thor’ and ‘Prometheus’. Australian flight searches to Iceland are up 32% and will continue to rise as thousands more visitors will also be drawn to the island by a major increase in solar activity, which will make the Aurora Borealis – the Northern Lights – particularly spectacular and frequent in 2015.
Here are the 10 best things to do in Iceland.
Already seeing an increase in popularity, playing host to The FIFA World Cup in 2014 ensured Brazil was firmly placed on the map as a key holiday destination for Brits. However, as is the case with London following the 2012 Olympics, the tourism benefits are expected to follow a year or two later once flight and hotel prices are perceived to be cheaper, but the investment in infrastructure can still be felt. So far, Australian searches are up 45%, but it is expected that 2015 will be another bumper year for Brazilian tourism.
Improvements in infrastructure such as the city metro which opened in 2014, along with increased frequency of flights from Europe and North America, is making Panama a more attractive destination for Australians, with searches up by 16%. A slew of new hotel openings including the Hilton and the planned Ritz Carlton, alongside the growing Western love for quality coffee, and thus the country’s many coffee tours, is likely to attract more luxury travellers in 2015.
This tiny and remote island archipelago, 2,000 miles off the east coast of Australia with a population of just 246,000, enjoyed its heyday as a cheap-and-cheerful package destination for Aussie mass-market tourists until mid-2000s. It’s currently on the rise again with flight searches up 9%. After a sharp post-Crash decline, the former French colony is undergoing a major change of personality that will see it re-emerge as an upmarket niche hotspot for wealthy eco-travellers.
7. Seoul, South Korea
With the world’s appetite for Korean popular culture (the Korean Wave) showing no signs of abating since the world went crazy for Gangnam style two years ago, Seoul is seeing its popularity as a tourist magnet soar. Australians playing in the shallows of this Korean Wave with flight searches up 10%, a budget hotel building boom and an established role as China’s favourite duty-free store to the mix, mark Seoul as a hot travel ticket in 2015.
8. Colombo, Sri Lanka
With amazing cuisine, beautiful beaches and luxury hotels, Colombo has been earning itself a well-deserved reputation as a top destination for international travellers (global searches are up 25%). Australians appear to be catching on quickly as flight searches increased 19%. With Sri Lanka’s first film festival in 2014, ongoing restoration of its colonial architecture, a variety of new hotel openings and casinos planned, it is predicted that Colombo’s appeal will soar in 2015.
Shaking its reputation for political strife, Nicaragua is giving Brazil a run for its money, with flight searches up 48%. Eco-tourism, adventure travel, budget travel and luxury tourism are all gaining ground with Mukal, the country’s first 5-star hotel opening in 2013.
10. Okinawa, Japan
A chain of thousands of sub-tropical islands stretching 1,000 km across the South China Sea from the Southwest tip of Japan almost to Taiwan, this beautiful and varied archipelago has remained a tourist paradise known only to the locals. But a string of new luxury hotels, linked to tales of world-class diving, unspoilt jungles, pure white beaches, UNESCO heritage sites, and a fascinating and ancient culture and cuisine, will make Okinawa a magnet for Australian travellers in 2015, with flight searches up 26%.