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Hot travel destinations 2011

WideWorld's friends at TravelPR asked their clients which travel destinations will be hot in 2011. Here’s what they told us...

by WideWorld


Vorarlberg region, Austria

Reasoning: In the first art project of its kind, renowned British artist Antony Gormley has placed 100 life-size cast-iron figures over an area of 150km² in the High Alps of Austria’s tranquil Vorarlberg region. Forming a horizontal line, the sculptures are mounted at intervals ranging from 60m to several kilometres, looking in every direction but never facing each other. Catch ‘Horizon Field’ until April 2012.

Sample trip: A four-night ‘time for two’ spa break at Hotel Gams in Bezau costs from £408 pp in March, including four nights’ half board in a suite with open fire and whirlpool bath, unlimited use of the Da Vinci spa area and free champagne and chocolate. Sunday arrivals only. Flights extra. Call 00 43 5514 2220 or visit


Reasoning: Blah blah blah, it’s the 100th anniversary of Machu Picchu’s rediscovery by Hiram Bingham in 2011. Change the record. Here’s a twist of a trip from The Traveller, though, focusing instead on Espiritu Pampa. For it is this place where the Inca Empire’s concluded, not Machu Picchu as Bingham posited.  Pampa’s now proven to have been the Incas’ final outpost as they fought the Spanish in 1571.

Sample trip: Departing 10 September, the 15-day tour from The Traveller (020 7269 2770, costs £3,650 pp with flights (London), all transfers, 14 nights’ B&B, 15 other meals, guiding and lectures from Hugh Thomson, one of Britain’s foremost Inca experts. It also visits Machu Picchu.

West Sweden

Reasoning: The west coast of Sweden, with its rugged coastline, excellent seafood and gastronomic reputation, is opening up to the UK market following the launch of two new flights to Gothenburg in late 2010 (BA from Heathrow and easyJet from Gatwick). Sweden’s second-largest city, with its surprisingly good-value Michelin-starred restaurants and scenic surrounds, is definitely one to watch.

Sample package: Sunvil Discovery* (020 8758 4722, has three-night stays in Gothenburg from £542 pp, including flights (Heathrow), private transfers and B&B at the Hotel Royal in the city centre.

The Philippines

Reasoning: The Philippines saw a rise in popularity in 2010 following the political unrest in Thailand. The central region remains relatively unknown in the UK, yet offers deserted beaches and fantastic parks, while Donsol Bay has whale-shark experiences and firefly-watching, plus the grumbling Mount Mayon Volcano.

Sample trip: Travelzest’s Faraway Holidays (01249 467 163, has a 10-night itinerary from £1,649 pp (two sharing), including flights (London), B&B, tours, wildlife expeditions, cycle hire and a great guide.

Majella National Park, Italy

Reasoning: Getting away from it all is getting harder to achieve as formerly far-flung destinations move into the mainstream. Italy’s Majella National Park is one of 11 PAN Parks, a European network of unspoilt wilderness areas with at least 100km² that’s entirely free of man’s footprint, and where ‘off the beaten track’ takes on a whole new meaning.

Sample trip: Book a tailor-made tour of Majella National Park with Wildlife & Wilderness (0845 00 44 599, Independent travellers can fly to Pescara airport (Ryanair from Stansted), a one-hour drive from the park. More details including accommodation options at


Reasoning: What with BA’s new direct flights to Rio de Janeiro, and just-introduced Iberia routes from Europe to the north-eastern resorts of Fortaleza and Recife, Brazil’s never been more reachable. Go north for magnificent beaches, or check out Rio’s bohemian Santa Teresa district, Brasilia’s mind-boggling modern architecture or the surreal rock formations and rapid rivers of Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park.

Sample trip: A 12-night ‘Alternative Brazil’ itinerary, covering Rio, the beaches and Chapada dos Veadeiros NP, costs from £3,462 pp with Sunvil Traveller* (020 8758 4774, including flights (Heathrow), all transfers, 12 nights’ accommodation, some meals and private excursions.

Karnataka, India

Reasoning: Goa’s a mite over-developed these days, so Indian beach bums are turning to Karnataka instead. Southern India’s least-visited state, it has stunning monuments; Mysore, the city of palaces and sandalwood; national parks; and the hip IT capital of Bangalore – where the 2011 Judi Dench-vehicle The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is currently being filmed. Expect a Slumdog Millionaire-style tourism take-off.

Sample trip: Real Holidays (020 7359 3938, offers a tailor-made 17-day private Karnataka tour for £2,865 pp, including flights (Heathrow), all transfers and sightseeing, and B&B throughout.


Reasoning: Last year saw such a tightening of restrictions on Libyan tourist visas as to make it almost impossible to travel without tenacity. The good news is that normal service has now resumed, making this land of magnificent and unsurpassed ancient sites accessible to the discerning visitor once again. Make life even easier by booking with a tour operator that’ll do all the admin on your behalf.

Sample trip: ‘The Two Libyas – Cyrenaica & Tripolitania’, costs £1,988 pp (two sharing) with Kirker Holidays* (020 7593 2284, including BA flights (Heathrow), transfers, eight nights’ half board, sightseeing, the services of tour lecturer Dr Neil Faulkner and a local guide, and all visa costs.


Reasoning: 2011 has been appointed Nepal Tourism Year by the Nepalese government, with a lofty aim of attracting 1 million tourists, and no bandas for 12 months.  New trekking trails have been opened, while Explore is peddling a new ‘Manaslu Circuit’ tour, billed as the new Annapurna and flanking the world’s eight-highest peak via remote villages, traditional teahouses and passes adorned in fluttering prayer flags.

Sample trip: The 22-day tour from Explore* (0844 499 0901, costs from £2,198 pp including flights (Heathrow), all transport, 17 nights' full-board camping, four nights' B&B, guiding and porters. Departs October & November.

Ilfracombe, Devon

Reasoning: Having recently undergone something of a renaissance, with some of the most elegant Victorian architecture having been restored, Ilfracombe is also emerging as Devon’s ‘Surf and Turf’ capital: serious waves at Woolacombe, and wonderful walking across Exmoor – both on your doorstep.

Sample trip: Classic Cottages (01326 555 555, has a week’s stay at Little Bessemer (sleeps two) – a cosy and very comfortable property in the village of Berrynarbor (home of the Flower Pot Men), with a delightful garden and its own little stream - from £153 pp (£306 total).

Meknes, Morocco

Reasoning: Vineyards are an unlikely sight for any Muslim country – let alone one partly set in the Sahara. But local wine “appellations” and Morocco's first self-styled "Chateau" are now present in the beautiful town of Meknes, as is the Riad Lahboul – the first decent place to stay in the city. Combining well with breaks to Fes, Meknes is likely to take off next year.

Sample trip: A four-night trip – two nights at Riad Lahboul with Chateau-visit and wine-tasting dinner, and two nights in Fes – costs from £770 pp through Travelzest’s Best of Morocco (0845 026 4585,, including flights (Stansted), transfers and B&B.

Yunnan, China

Reasoning: Bordering Vietnam, Laos and Burma and home to 25 ethnicities, Yunnan is a rugged and unspoilt region of forested peaks and tropical jungles. It’s home to Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the world’s deepest, and somewhere long loved by French and US visitors, but a secret to UK tourists. The 5,500m-high Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and thousands of 270 million-year-old limestone pillars will also appeal.

Sample trip: China Links Travel (0203 344 3866, has a five-night Yunnan tour from £788 pp (two sharing), including transfers, four-star half-board accommodation, three dinners and tours. Itineraries with flights can be tailor-made.


Reasoning: Voyages Jules Verne’s bookings to Syria have risen significantly over the last two years, helped in no small part by a 2009 talk at the Royal Geographical Society entitled ‘Old Aleppo – A Resurrected Gem of a City’. Rich in history and renowned for the friendliness of its people, Syria’s appeal has also been boosted of late with the development of several new boutique hotels.

Sample trip: An eight-night ‘From the Apostles to the Crusades’ tour, visiting Damascus, Palmyra, the Homs area and Aleppo, costs from £1,295 pp (two sharing) with Voyages Jules Verne (0845 166 7035,, including flights (Heathrow), taxes, transfers, accommodation with most meals, sightseeing and the services of guides/local representatives.

India (Tiger Tourism)

Reasoning: After a shaky start, this autumn’s Commonwealth Games have sparked renewed interest in India whilst the country’s ongoing ‘tiger tourism’ debate has once again reminded wildlife enthusiasts of the need to travel responsibly on the trail of these magnificent animals.

Sample trip: Baobab Expeditions (0844 826 8550, has a 13-day ‘Tigers, Rhinos & Wild Buffaloes’ tour costs from£2,819 pp (two sharing) including accommodation, most meals, chauffeur-driven/air-conditioned transport, game drives, the services of a tour manager/local naturalists, all entrance fees/permits and a donation to official tour partner, WWF-India. Flights extra. Departs 26 February & 13 November.

Maliau Basin, Borneo

Reasoning: Maliau Basin is a largely unexplored, unmapped enigma in Borneo’s Sabah region, just waiting to be discovered. At 25km wide and enclosed by 1,700m-high cliffs , this mind-blowing, uninhabited wonderland is home to 12 types of forest and, at the last count, 80 orchid and 270 bird species. Not to mention majestic waterfalls, which are still being discovered.

Sample trip: A 12-night itinerary with Travelzest’s Malaysia Experience (01249 467 164,, including a guided four-night, full-board trek in the Maliau Basin plus flights (Heathrow), transfers and eight nights’ B&B at the Shangri La Rasa Ria, costs from £2,789 pp (two sharing).

Salzburg, Austria

Reasoning: With new Air Berlin flights starting from as little as £34 pp (one-way) including allocated seats, 20kg baggage and free ski/boot carriage as well as complimentary on-board snacks and soft drinks, Salzburg’s appeal as a winter sports holiday hub looks set to soar. The Sound of Musicfans, you know what to do...

Sample trip: Kinderhotels (0845 0822 422, has a seven-night holiday at the Alpine Paradise Hotel Ellmauhof (90mins from Salzburg) from £1,866 for a family of four, including full board, refreshments, free ski pass for children over six, 20% off spa/beauty treatments, a horse-drawn sled ride and up to 72 hours’ free childcare. Flights extra.


Reasoning: With even Northern Namibia now fairly well on the tourist map, safari-goers seeking little-known lands in Southern Africa are venturing even further northwards. Adventure specialist Explore has introduced Angola for 2011; its tour a rugged camping/expedition-type trip focusing on the country’s south. On the bill are Iona National Park, gamelands bordered by the Atlantic, Lake Arco, hidden in a canyon, and the Portuguese colonial city of Lubango, plus sights in Namibia.

Sample trip: A new 17-day tour from Explore* (0844 499 0901, costs from £2,999 pp including flights (London), all transport, 14 nights’ full board (12 camping) and guiding. Departs July & October.


Reasoning: Bhutan has come under the spotlight through recent BBC documentary series Lost Land of the Tiger and Wilderness Journeys is expecting more adventurous travellers will be inspired to visit this fascinating country in 2011. Its off-the-beaten-track trekking including the Juniper Trail – perhaps the best short trek in Bhutan, one offering rewards normally reserved for longer itineraries in the high Himalayas.

Sample trip: Departing 17 April & 2 October, a 15-night ‘Trekking Bhutan – The Juniper Trail’ trip costs £2,895 pp including internal transfers, accommodation (4nts camping), most meals, guiding services and tourism fees. Excludes  flights from the UK, which Wilderness Journeys* (0131 625 6635, can book.

Calabria & Basilicata, Italy

Reasoning: New flights to Lamezia from Monarch next summer will open up the ‘toe’ of Italy. The region of Basilicata remains very affordable and off the beaten track, while neighbouring Calabria is home to a sandy coastline which Italian poet D’Annunzio labelled “the most beautiful kilometre of Italy”, plus trendy seaside towns minus the Amalfi crowds. Both have beaches aplenty, luxury hotels and great walking inland, too.

Sample trip: A trip combining three nights’ B&B at Villa Cheta Elite, an Art Nouveau-style hotel on Basilicata’s coast and four nights’ half board at the five-star Calabrian bolthole of Porto Pirgos costs £1,081 pp with Real Holidays (020 7359 3938,, including flights (London) and car hire.

Baracoa, Cuba

Reasoning: Having been the first city founded in Cuba back in the 16th century, the beach town of Baracoa will celebrate its 500th anniversary in 2011. The area in general, on the island’s far-east, is time-lost: women wash clothes in the river and farmers shake coconut trees – and it’s virtually unknown. But perhaps not for much longer...

Sample trip: Seven nights’ B&B at El Castillo – part of a former Spanish fortress overlooking the bay – costs from £855 pp with Travelzest’s Captivating Cuba (08444 129917,  including flights (Gatwick) and transfers.


Reasoning: Basking in the glow of its heightened international reputation, Chile is sure to reap the rewards of the feel-good factor after the successful miners’ rescue. Nobody would begrudge this stunning country its moment in the spotlight and tourists are now expected to flock to Chile to discover the friendly people and breathtaking scenery for themselves.

Sample trip: Various members of AITO operate to the country. Llama Travel* (020 7263 3000, has a 12 day ‘Natural Wonders of Chile’ trip that takes in the highlights and costs £2,049 pp including flights (London), internal transfers, nine nights’ accommodation, excursions and entrance fees.

*This company is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO): 140 independent and specialist travel companies providing an unrivalled collection of holiday ideas that cover every corner of the world. Consumers booking with AITO are assured of 100% financial security, high-quality holidays and excellent personal service. Visit for more information.


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