With the January blues kicking in – and February still to get through before spring brings longer days and bright yellow blooms – for many of us, this is the time when three words – “book a holiday” – are uppermost in our minds.
So if you need that extra bit of motivation to keep you going at work this month, take a look at the destinations the travel experts predict will make headlines this year – and chances are you may not have heard of some of these before….
Although this small city is home to just over 93,000 people, Mons is expected to attract 2 million visitors to its medieval streets as it plays host as this year’s European Capital of Culture.
Highlights of the celebration – which will be held throughout the year – include a stellar new Van Gogh exhibit, three arts festivals, and some serious partying. The city will also unveil five new museums, making this the perfect hotspot for any culture vulture or art lover.
The Bahamian Riviera
Based on Nassau’s famed Cable Beach, this is the largest single-phase luxury resort project in the history of the Caribbean – and it’s set to make serious waves. Boasting four hotels, 200,000 square feet of convention space, a 2,000-seat performing arts centre, 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, 30 restaurants and bars, 14 pools and a 100,000-square-foot casino large enough to rival any in Las Vegas or Macau, this $3.5 billion development is set to be huge when it opens in spring 2015. Definitely worth a look while you’re staying at your timeshare resort in Nassau.
Downtown Los Angeles
Downtown LA has been totally transformed over the last decade and is now one of the area’s most exciting neighbourhoods. Expect shops galore, as well as restaurants, bars and clubs. The district also boasts luxe new hotels and incredible food venues, such as the revamped Grand Central Market, as well as the brand-new $3 billion sports and entertainment venue LA Live. Still not enough to whet the appetite? The downtown scene will heat up even more when billionaire art collector Eli Broad’s $140 million vanity project, the Broad Museum, opens to the public this Autumn.
The Faroe Islands
Already making a splash in the pages of the New Year’s Sunday supplements and travel mags, this remote archipelago that lies northwest of Scotland, between Norway and Iceland is set to have its moment in the spotlight this year when it becomes just one of just two places in the world to witness a total solar eclipse on March 20, 2015. Many travel agencies are already offering tours and cruises to the storybook isles for this astronomical event, even though it lasts less than three minutes.
Coober Pedy, Australia
The “underground town” of Coober Pedy, where 80 per cent of the world’s opal comes from is set to have its place in the limelight this year. Coober is celebrating its centenary this year with a host og events, including an opal festival, gem show, marathon, dances and street parties.
Singapore is celebrating 50 years of independence with fireworks, parades, shows, youth rallies and a new walkway from the Civic District to Marina Bay. It’s also set to open its long-awaited National Gallery, while other new attractions such as the River Safari, will continue to draw in tourists from across the world.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit the Grand Canyon and Napa Valley in just one afternoon? Well, Salta comes close. This dusty patch of Argentina is close to Bolivia, Chile and Paraguay and is also home to colourful colonial towns, gnarled mountain scapes and the highest altitude wineries in the world. If you like your wine with a heady dose of fun, Salta is one to watch this year.
Foodies from around the globe will descend on Italy’s second-largest city between May and October to ruminate on the future of food – all held within a 1.1 million-square-metre fairground, shaped like a classical Roman metropolis. The event will bring together nationals from over 140 counties with an estimated 20 million visitors – a record number exceeding even the 2010 World’s Fair in Shanghai. Expect plenty of exotic food tastings and lots of educational lectures.
Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers
River cruising is becoming one of tourism’s fastest growing activities, meaning many boats will find new homes in 2015 along two of Southeast Asia’s most important waterways: the Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers. More than a dozen new ships will set sail in 2015 on journeys through Myanmar or across the Vietnam-Cambodia border, making this the perfect new way to explore Southeast Asia.
While new timeshare favourite Dubai has firmly stolen a place in the hearts of the rich and famous in recent years, Abu Dhabi is the cultural capital of the Middle East. At the heart of Abu Dhabi’s reinvention is the 24,000-square-metre Saadiyat Island Cultural District, which will house the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi in 2017, the Zayed National Museum in 2016 and the first Louvre Museum outside Paris by the end of next year which looks set to be one of the biggest art and architecture stories of 2015.
Will you be heading to the Faroe Islands to see the total solar eclipse on 20 March, or visiting the new Capital of Culture, Mons? Tweet us at @GoTimeshare and share your holiday pics with us!