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Neil Sowerby’s Travel Predictions For 2014

In the build-up to Destinations at EventCity, our man of the world has some suggestions

Written by . Published on January 8th 2014.


Neil Sowerby’s Travel Predictions For 2014
 

Thousands will flock to The Times Presents Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show at EventCity – January is the time when thoughts inevitably turn to holiday planning. Travel Editor Neil Sowerby predicts The Big Travel Trends for the coming year...

SIGNS of an economic up-turn? I’m not sure. The Staycation market (ugly term but it’s here to stay) will surely remain buoyant – providing our seaside resorts don’t get washed away with all these storms – along with weekend breaks a quick flight away via budget airlines (but beware the hidden add-ons!).

Swaledale %26#8211%3B Yha Honeymoon DestintionSwaledale – YHA honeymoon destination

There’s always London, where a raft of new hotels is coming on stream (sic) this year – notably the Shangri-la in the Shard. And if such luxury lodgings are aimed at rich world travellers from the likes of China and Russia, well budget alternatives abound, too. Youth Hostels have had a £10m revamp – there is even a honeymoon suite at Grinton Lodge in Swaledale. Indie hostels such as  Clink78 and Safestay in London and Hoax in LIverpool are raising the bar, too.

In 2013 I dipped my toe, with splendid, affordable results, into the booming alternative universe of Airbnb. Along with other “social” homestay websites such as Housetrip and Wimdu, it is transforming the way we travel. Now threatened hoteliers are fighting back. The move to reduce holiday lets began in New York where it has been illegal since 2011 for property owners to rent out short-stay apartments for less than 30 days. Now European destinations including Berlin and Paris may follow. But as with downloading music, the dam seems irrevocably breached.

Dancer-At-Carnival-In-RioRio Carnival – an image from Top 100 Wonders 

Whether Airbnb in Brazil can cope with the hordes of football fans heading for the World Cup and deterred by the exploitative hotel tariffs there, I’m not sure. Whatever, the myriad attractions of this huge country (a Caiprinha on the Copacabana, anyone?) will make it hard to resist. And it doesn't have to be the World Cup in the summer; the famous Rio Carnival runs from February 28 to March 4.

If you really want to get down with the natives get into Capoeira. Variously described as a martial art, a dance form and a secret form of communication among African slaves in Brazil, Capoeira is history in action. In Rio you can see musicians and spectators arranged in the roda de capoeira (capoeira circle) at the weekly Feira Nordestina in São Cristóvão. Look for courses all over Brazil – the range of movements required will develop your flexibility, balance and coordination. We recommend it to the England team.

The Capoeira tip comes from a free new eBook from Lonely Planet, titled Travel Resolutions: 52 New Ways to Experience Planet Earth.  Containing a different take on the classic New Year resolutions list, the eBook covers weird and wonderful activities in destinations all over the globe. Download it on on e-Readers and as a PDF from this link.

Macchu PiccuMacchu Picchu – legendary site; below, a ceviche

CevicheThat’s the footie and more sorted then. Foodies may well find neighbouring  Peru more alluring. Its ceviche-based cuisine is conquering the globe – whether local speciality guinea pig will find equal favour is debatable.

Work off the gastronomic overload by trekking up to lost city of The Incas, Machu Picchu. Oh, and beach-blessed Uruguay is the new Argentina, apparently. And Ecuador boasts great wildlife, including the Galapagos.

If South America is a few air miles too far for that Vitamin D fix, there are bargains to be had on cash-strapped Greece (there was an 11 per cent increase in UK visitors in 2013), while Eastern Med rival Turkey is banking on upmarket projects. Bodrum is shedding its package holiday image with the opening of a new Mandarin Oriental Hotel in 2014 following the success of the glamorous new Vogue Hotel last year.

Greece

There’s a lot of investment, too, in perennial faves, the Balearics. On Ibiza Ushuaia, the beachfront party hotel has launched a spin-off, The Tower, while current buzz is about Miami-born beach club Nikki Beach. There’s an increasing emphasis on agriturismo in revamped farmhouses here and on Mallorca, a leader in the field (literally). It doesn’t have to be too rustic – check out the new Son Ametler boutique hotel (www.hotelsonametler.com)  in the foothills of the Transmuntana Range. At the five-star end of Mallorca’s hotel market the Castell Son Claret, at es Capdella west of Palma, is a five-star benchmark. www.castellsonclaret.com.

The Cruise Market grows apace. Industry figures claim 10 per cent of consumers are considering a floating holiday in 2014 and 19 per cent of 16-24 year olds say they might consider one. The new rock and roll? You may recall Pulp headlining the SS Coachella Festival cruise to the Bahamas a year ago. I expect generally deck quoits and the Captain’s Table to remain around for some while yet. Big news for diehard cruisers is the maiden voyage in June of The Regal Princess, a new class of ship set to carry 3,560 passengers in some style.

 

Viking River Cruises Are Inctreasingly PopularViking River Cruises are going from strength to strength

River cruises should boom, too. Big players Viking have invested in a new fleet of longships for this spring, while newcomer Emerald Waterways is launching the “next generation of river cruises. It’s not just the Danube and the Rhine. 2014 marks the centenary of the Panama Canal; the Nile should be resurgent with some normality returning to Egypt, while Burma, once out of bounds to western visitors, has Irrawaddy River cruises offers to offer.

 

If the World Cup is the big sporting event, closer to home the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Tour de France pedaling off in Yorkshire should have considerable tourism impact. The cycling market is already growing by 10 to 15 per cent each year – thanks to Sir Bradley and Sir Chris. National Parks alone are investing £12million in cycle paths, so  expect a lot more two-wheeled holidays in 2014.

Great War CemeteryOne of the Great War cemeteries in Flanders Fields

One significant commemoration event that crosses boundaries throughout 2014 is the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War. Thousands are expected to visit the battlefields of Belgium and Northern France to pay their respects in the sombrest of holiday trips. For how the war destinations are gearing up visit www.1914.org. Planet Confidential has already previewed it substantially: Flanders Fields and The First and Last.

Nicaragua, Ecuador, Mongolia, Congo (for gorilla watching) have all cropped up in previews as potentially rewarding far-flung destinations. Tailor-made specialists Steppes Travel are offering Papua New Guinea for the first time, an opportunity to immerse yourself, says its local expert Alex Mudd, in “Cannibalism and cargo cults, skull caves and spirit houses, wigmen and Asaro mudmen.” Now that’s where Blackpool has been missing out.

 

Meet The Experts

North’s Biggest Travel Show Brings the World to Manchester

 

THE perfect way to plan that dream trip (preferably without Cannibalism) is The Times Presents Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show, which comes to EventCity near the Trafford Centre, 23-26 January 2014. Featuring celebrities, world food tastings, a free travel clinic and 150+ exhibitors – from £7.50 in advance. Manchester Confidential readers can claim two complimentary tickets to Destinations, worth £18, by visiting our online box office and quoting MANC (£1.50 booking fee per ticket applies).

Destinations is now in its third year and offers travel experts including Julia Bradbury (being interviewed on stage by Neil Sowerby at 2pm on Saturday, January 25) and Michaela Strachan, plus more than 150 brands, performers, expert speakers and food from around the world. It runs alongside the co-located Caravan & Motorhome Show, showcasing the latest caravans, motorhomes and accessories from over 200 exhibitors.

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