Cuba tops travel trends for 2016

1158108918It is the season to compile New Year travel bucket lists and for wanderlust-affected locals, Cuba and Iceland are the pick of the international bunch.

According to, 99-percent of travellers from Adelaide say they have a Travel Bucket List (a list of the destinations they want to visit in the next five years) and the majority want to discover the unknown. Unique cultural experiences, disconnecting from everyday life and visiting pristine, natural environments also ranked highly in the travel website’s annual ‘State of the Nation’ report.

Local travel agents Phil Hoffman and King William Travel say Cuba is top of the must-see list for intrepid local travellers.

“It was a place where nobody could go before but entry-wise it’s starting to get a lot easier and flights are slowly starting to go there as well,” said Sandra Cosic, manager at King William Travel.

“Cruises now go to Cuba, too. It’s a beautiful country, old-style architecture, the music, the dancing, it’s completely different to what people have seen so it’s definitely worth going there.”

The USA is also a hotspot. Hawaii, Las Vegas and San Francisco are popular but picturesque US destinations such as the Grand Canyon in Arizona, California’s Mammoth Lakes, Jackson Hole in Wyoming and California’s Palm Springs are also coveted holiday locations.

“It went a bit quiet for a little while but now tours of the USA have picked up,” Mrs Cosic said. “Baltic and Northern Europe cruises are particularly popular at the moment, as are river cruises. It’s just a much easier way of travelling through Europe than getting a coach the whole way.”

Regular specials, the relaxed pace of travel and the appeal of all-inclusive price tags are a hit with the Adelaide market, especially older generations.

“Let’s face it, we have an older market here in Adelaide and they love it because they might have issues with their legs, medical issues or can’t take long flights because it’s too hard on their body,” Mrs Cosic said.
“So they just make their way to Sydney or Melbourne and then catch the cruise to wherever it’s going.” has seen an increase in searches to South East-Asian destinations like Phuket. Searches for Palawan and Bohol in the Philippines, Laos, Flores in Indonesia and Vietnam’s Da Nang have also increased.


The Caribbean island nation is known for white-sand beaches, Spanish colonial architecture, rolling mountains, cigars and rum. Vibrant capital city Havana bursts with dance clubs, cabaret shows and Salsa moves. It is politically intriguing, too.


Iceland is the new black. You’re not hip if you don’t yearn to visit the icy, glacier-packed Nordic island nation. There’s plenty to explore … volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, waterfalls and Viking history museums. Creativity is also at Iceland’s core. Locals are an artistic bunch and the capital of Reykjavik is home to many of them.


Across the pond from Italy, this little gem looks out over the Adriatic Sea. Islands galore, castles and medieval mysteries … it’s like stepping back in time. The coastal city of Dubrov­nik has an Old Town surrounded by 16th-century walls. It’s all very Game of Thrones.

Myanmar (formerly Burma)

This South-East Asian multicultural melting pot has a spectacular landscape of parks, lakes, temples and some of Buddhism’s most sacred sites. The markets bustle with food and cultural diversity. It’s also a great place to explore on a bike.


Quite literally one of the coolest destinations out there. If you’re after a spectacular, chilly culture shock, you’ll get it here. Snowy, white South Pole landscape as far as the eye can see, peculiar penguin antics, whales, seals and sea bird spotting opportunities and some of the most stunning picture opportunities on the globe.

Galápagos Islands

Nature enthusiasts lose their mind over Ecuador’s fragile ecosystem. Curious creatures, many of which can be found nowhere else in the world, inhabit the islands and surrounding waters. Giant tortoises, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, fur seals and the hilarious blue-footed boobies call the islands home. The diving opportunities are out of this world.


Food, history, culture, art … these European countries have it all. Whether pizza in bustling piazzas, vino sipped with rolling Italian vineyard views or escargot in Les Plus Beaux Villages de France floats your boat, both countries are easily accessible. They’re also places famed for romance … let the loved-up times roll.

South America

Ancient ruins, Amazonian rainforest adventures, Andean peaks, treks with views dreams are made of and delightful locals … there’s a lot to love about South America. Walk the Inca Trail, visit archaeological site Machu Picchu, gaze out over Salar de Uyuni (world’s largest salt flat) and stare up at the world’s highest waterfall Salto Ángel (Angel Falls) as you pinch yourself over and over again.


Barcelona, Madrid, Tenerife, Majorca, Valencia, oh my. Both Spain and Portugal beckon tourists with beautiful beaches, bustling cities, medieval castles, cobblestone villages, glorious Mediterranean grub and beautiful people.

The Baltics

Northern Europe marks the spot, in particular Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Formerly part of the Soviet Union, Estonia boasts castles, churches and fortresses while Latvia’s mix of modern cities, art nouveau architecture, historic old towns, beaches and forests are ripe for exploring. Further down, Lithuania boasts gothic, renaissance and baroque architecture, cobblestone streets, Baltic coastlines and beautiful forests.


Katie Spain, Lifestyle reporter, Sunday Mail (SA)
January 2, 2016

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