Vacationers are ready to make up for lost time. But where are they likely to book trips for this year?
After two long years of confinements, false starts and traffic light negotiations, vacationers are ready to make up for lost time.
ABTA’s recent Travel in 2022 report showed us that 61% of respondents plan to vacation abroad this year, with 46% willing to spend more money there than in previous years. GWI’s research shows the same, also highlighting nearby European favorites that people want to return to – as well as the United States, Maldives, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. These countries increasingly offer the accolades for sustainable development and cultural richness that travelers seek more than ever before.
If the Omicron variant surpasses its peak over Christmas and New Years, we’re hoping for a big rush of holiday bookings later this month. To get you ready, here are the most popular destinations expected for 2022 – as determined by ABTA’s research.
Driven by passion and adept at living the good life, Spain mixes delicious food (paella), breathtaking art (Picasso, Dalí) and endless nightlife that stretches from towns to its sunny Balearic and Canary Islands.
Why it’s hot in 2022: After a disappointing and wet British summer in 2021, the still sunny coasts of Lanzarote and Mallorca are more attractive than ever.
Eat at: Dating back to 1725, Sobrino de Botin in Madrid is the oldest restaurant in the world and is renowned for its roast suckling pig.
Will stay: The elegant French hotel chain Sofitel opens its first outpost in Spain, the Barcelona Skipper, in May.
Don’t miss: The highlight of the basilica of starchitect Antoni Gaudi, La Sagrada Familia (photo) in Barcelona, mixes the divine (a facade of the crib) with the deranged (lizards crawling outside).
Bring together the historical wonders of Rome, the scenic waterways of Venice, and the truffle oil pasta in Tuscany, and Italy is ridiculously rich in memorable moments.
Why it’s hot in 2022: The small island of Procida, near Naples, is the 2022 Italian Capital of Culture and will host 40 events this year.
Eat at: For something different (and a bit controversial), try a piping hot pizza from a Mr Go Pizza vending machine near Rome’s Policlinico metro station – the first of its kind.
Will stay: Hipster brand The Hoxton has made the leap to Italy with The Hoxton, Rome, which features a top-notch café bar and a lovely outdoor terrace.
Don’t miss: The lesser-known but fascinating ADI Design Museum in Milan chronicles the impact of Italian industrial design.
Whether it’s the ornate boulevards of Paris, the down-to-earth Cork restaurants in Lyon or the blue and blue waters of the French Riviera, there’s a reason France is the world’s most popular tourist destination.
Why it’s hot in 2022: From April, you can raise your glass at the Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin de Bourgogne, a complex with a cooking school, restaurants and a wine cellar.
Eat at: A former Parisian butcher’s shop in the 11e arrondissement, Le Bistrot Paul Bert has made a name for itself in the capital, thanks to delicious dishes such as suckling pork.
Will stay: Located five minutes from the Palais des Festivals, the Staybridge Suites Cannes Center opens mid-2022.
Don’t miss: that of Lyon traboule are a network of covered passages and courtyards à la Escher, dating from the 4th century.
From the crumbling starch white ruins of Athens to the idyllic beaches of the islands in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Greece charms visitors with its beauty, thirst for life and incredible seafood.
Why it’s hot in 2022: Greece has taken the lead in sustainable tourism with initiatives such as Clean Blue Paros, making Paros the first Mediterranean island without plastic waste.
Eat at: Buckle up and hoist yourself above Athens for an al fresco meal at Dinner in the Sky, which returns in April.
Will stay: One of the cool design touches at the trendy NEW Hotel in Athens is ‘favela walls’ made from old furniture.
Don’t miss: Labeled “Parthenon of the shipwrecks”, the underwater museum of Alonissos near Peristera is the first of its kind in Greece and accessible by diving.
Like 50 nations in one country, the United States is a patchwork of diversity, from its beautiful people in the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park, to the beaches of California and the glittering skyscrapers of New York City.
Why it’s hot in 2022: With the United States opening its borders to British visitors after nearly two years, a vacation there seems like a hard-earned treat.
Eat at: New York’s Katz’s Delicatessen features legendary pastrami on rye, featured in iconic romantic comedy When Harry meets Sally.
Will stay: Starting in March, book yourself a cabin on the geektastic Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
Don’t miss: The Bob Dylan Center, which features more than 100,000 artefacts relating the musician’s life, opens in Tulsa in May.
After years of living in the shadow of Spain, its most prominent neighbor, Portugal’s cobbled villages and golden surf-ready beaches take on real meaning.
Why it’s hot in 2022: Sónar, the pioneering arts and experimental music festival, makes its Portuguese debut in Lisbon in April.
Eat at: Pharmacia in Lisbon has a smart pharmacy theme that includes drinks (try Ibuprofeno) and pharmacy cabinet decor.
Will stay: Light Human Hotels – known for their unique and sustainable hotels inspired by the surrounding region – will open in Vila Real towards the end of 2022.
Don’t miss: Sintra, near Lisbon, appears to have been torn from a book of fairy tales, all the way to a palace (Palácio Nacional da Pena) on a wooded hill.
Much like its spicy food, Thailand is bountiful, refreshing, and exciting, with one of the friendliest people in the world encountering vibrant nightlife and beaches.
Why it’s hot in 2022: A country already known as a premier dining destination has become more alluring with six Bangkok restaurants recently winning a Michelin star.
Eat at: Aksorn’s menu in Bangkok is inspired by Chef David Thompson’s collection of Thai cookbooks from the 1940s to the 1970s.
Will stay: Mandarin Oriental, Phuket opens in January and will be located at one of the last remaining undeveloped beachfront locations on the island’s west coast.
Don’t miss: Railay, a peninsula between Krabi and Ao Nang, is home to a collection of beaches that offer white sands, crystal clear waters, and compelling limestone formations.
United Arab Emirates
An irresistible combination of sprawling futuristic cities and dramatic desert landscapes, the United Arab Emirates is a popular destination in more ways than one.
Why it’s hot in 2022: At the Future of Food: Epochal Banquet in Dubai (at Expo 2020, through March), you can savor space age delicacies formed using the same technique used by NASA to collect the comet dust.
Eat at: Offering a front row seat on the rooftops of downtown Dubai and the Burj Khalifa, CÉ LA VI sits 220m above sea level.
Will stay: To truly experience the natural beauty of the UAE, try one of the five bubble tents at the foot of Jebel Hafit Mountain.
Don’t miss: Take the truck route that connects Abu Dhabi and Al Ain and admire the eerily beautiful fossil dunes that featured in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Not an island paradise but 1,200 of them, the collection of Indian Ocean islands that make up the Maldives is distinguished by its cyan blue waters, powdery white sands and thatched-roof hotel rooms perched on wooden pilings.
Why is it hot in 2022: This year sees the arrival of a series of new resorts including the Emerald Faarufushi, on a lagoon suitable for snorkeling.
Eat at: Take the Flying Sauces zipline for a six-course meal 12m above the sand at Soneva Fushi.
Will stay: Surrounded by a reef, Alila Kothaifaru Maldives (opening February) is the ultimate getaway to Raa Atoll, 45 minutes by seaplane from Male.
Don’t miss: See if you can find Nemo in Banana Reef, a spot in North Male Atoll that is shaped like a banana.
Whether it’s Antigua’s 365 beaches (one for each day of the year), Barbados’ calypso cuisine, or the cotton candy-colored architecture of the Bahamas, the choices of experiences are endless in the Caribbean.
Why it’s hot in 2022: This will be the year music festivals make a comeback, including the Vujaday dance music event in Barbados in February and the Soul Beach Music Festival in Aruba, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in May.
Eat at: Try pub food at Swimming Pig, named after one of the Bahamas’ biggest tourist attractions.
Will stay: After being destroyed by Hurricane Irma in 2017, Saba Rock in the British Virgin Islands is back with a new restaurant and two bars.
Don’t miss: GoldenEye, the estate where Ian Fleming wrote the 14 James Bond books, is near the town of Orcabessa in Jamaica.
Be sure to refer all clients to the government’s official overseas travel advice page for the latest news on destination entry requirements and travel restrictions related to Covid.