Last updated: 07:09 PM ET, Wed April 13 2016

Travel Agents Reveal the Hottest Emerging Destinations

Destination & Tourism | Lisa Iannucci | April 11, 2016

Travel Agents Reveal the Hottest Emerging Destinations

PHOTO: Trapani, Sicily. (photo courtesy of Thinkstock)

If you’ve been vacationing to the same old places year after year after year, it’s time for a break. How about someplace new?

Karen La Rosa, owner of La Rosa Works, Sicily Travel and Tourism says that Sicily, Italy hasn’t always had the best reputation for being tourist-friendly, but it has changed tremendously over the last few years.

“Sicily was always a popular destination among the literati and even the glitterati, in part because it was not so crowded with regular tourists,” she explained. “Fast forward to today, and a summertime walk down the Taormina streets that D.H. Lawrence and de Maupassant waxed poetic about, will have you hearing many different languages and standing in line for that mouthwatering gelato. (Sicily’s) wine has found its place on the international map. Hotels are refining themselves while maintaining their historic beauty. Spas and wellness hotels are growing in number.”

READ MORE: What Are the World’s Most Popular Destinations?

La Rosa said that Sicily is adapting, in part due to the hard-working and determined young population. “Over time, Sicily has been overtaken by more than 15 different empires,” she said. “Today, the empire of tourism is approaching the coastlines.”

The Eastern European country of Croatia has become one of the hottest destinations for agents right now. “Due to the situation in the Middle East and North Africa (Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia), all the people who wish to enjoy sea, sun, great food and amazing scenery, and do not wish to pay South France and Italy prices, go to Croatia,” said Mitja Mirtic from Goolets LTD.

Greg Geronemus, co-CEO of smarTours in New York City called Croatia, “one of my favorite emerging under-the-radar European destinations.” Geronemus said, “With Croatia and Slovenia, you'll find the same Adriatic beauty that you'll have in Italy, but you just pay a lot less for it.”

He calls Dubrovnik, a city in southern Croatia fronting the Adriatic Sea, “one of the most charming cities on the planet,” and called Zagreb — Croatia’s northwestern capital — “one of the most underrated capital cities in Europe.”

In addition to Croatia, Geronemus said that both Colombia and South Africa are emerging destinations. “It is beautiful all year round, and it's a plus to avoid rainy season,” he said. “Thankfully, the summer is nice and dry in Colombia, allowing travelers to see the diverse country that includes bustling Bogota, the serene Coffee Triangle and charming Cartagena.”

In South Africa, Geronemus explained that thanks to the devaluation of the Rand, going on safari is more popular than ever. “Cape Town is one of the great cities in the world — beautiful backdrops, incredible food, and amazing culture — and there's nothing quite like a safari experience,” he declared. “It also happens to be shockingly affordable.”

Canmore, Alberta, Canada has become a popular destination for Christina Hanna’s clients. “It is emerging as Banff's younger sister — a sort of hidden gem,” said Hanna of Leavetown.

Canmore is located 20 minutes away from Banff, a resort town in the province of Alberta, within Banff National Park.

“(Near) the heart of Banff, Canmore is close to the action, and is also a beautiful little Rocky Mountain town itself, with lots of excellent accommodation options and stunning high end resorts,” she explained. “Usually the prices are much more reasonable than in Banff itself, too. Canmore has a less touristy vibe, and people who want authenticity on their vacation seem to be opting more and more to stay in Canmore.”

READ MORE: Will Cuba’s Rise Obscure Other Caribbean Destinations?

Hanna said the town also has restaurants, local cafes, coffee shops and bars, a leisure center, and an “unbelievably close, panoramic setting of snowcapped peaks.” 


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