Top Tipped Destinations for 2011

Abu Dhabi, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Brazil and Greece all on the shortlist

It’s that time of year when travel agencies and industry experts predict where the hottest spots for the next twelve months will be, and this year could be an interesting one.

Coming up on the inside to challenge Dubai is Abu Dhabi. Its new developments are coming to completion, including Ferrari World, which just opened.

More airlines will be flying to Marrakech, including BA (direct). One of the newest places to stay is Rocco Forte’s much-anticipated Assoufid www.assoufid.com where 80 luxury villas are spread over 222 hectares with a golf resort in scenic countryside just minutes from Marrakech airport.

Brazil and Mexico look strong, too. Mexico’s Caribbean coast, home to leading vacation ownership specialists Royal Resorts www.royalresorts.com is already popular; predictions are that interior resorts will start opening up with more developments in some of the charming towns including San Miguel de Allende.

Brazil is one to watch.With national tourism strong and international tourism growing, the government is investing in the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. Brazil is already a “brand” synonymous with Copacabana’s sun-kissed beaches, Rio and Sugar Loaf Mountain so this is a country that will probably hog a lot of the spotlight in the coming year.

While the Maldives and Seychelles are already on the luxury map, now Sri Lanka is being eyed by high end operators. In December it received bids worth $500 million to develop tourist resorts on 10 islets off the country’s northwest coast, according to Nalaka Godahewa, chairman of the Tourism Development Authority.

Eleven leisure companies, including “top international chains” are bidding to build hotels and golf courses. The winning bidders will be chosen in January. Six Senses Resorts and Spas, a Bangkok-based international luxury hotel chain, just announced it will set up headquarters for its Indian Ocean operations in Sri Lanka.

Visitor arrivals should rise significantly this year while some 5,000 rooms are being built in Kalpitiya which is gaining popularity for whale and dolphin watching, and diving.

Meanwhile back in Europe, Greece’s tourist numbers may get a boost in 2011 thanks to a marketing push by the tourist board which plans to promote the country online and in the media to attract new visitors from outside Europe as well as returning holidaymakers.

Pelion, on the mainland, will be one of the regions in the spotlight. Following the success of their resort homes at Halcyon Hills on the island of Samons, fractional and shared ownership specialists Barrasford & Bird are now marketing properties in Pelion. According to Greek myths, Pelion was the summer residence of the Gods of Olympus, who made it their home above the city of Volos, between the Pagasitikos Gulf and the Aegean Sea.

Robin Barrasford believes "Pelion is one of the most up and coming areas of Greece. Stunning unspoilt scenery, glorious unchanging views and great value for money."

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