12. Kadavu, Fiji
Did you know Fiji is close to having an island for every day of the year? There are 332 chunks of impossible beauty, although only 106 of them have permanent residents.
Fiji’s capital, Suva is only a 4-hour flight from Sydney and for the thousands of Irish living on Australia’s East Coast, it’s a haven frequently visited. In fact, there’s been a 20% increase in Europeans visiting Fiji in 2017, with the country’s fourth biggest island, Kadavu enjoying a huge surge of visitors.
11. Exmouth, Australia
Exmouth is a sort of Mecca for marine lovers, giving the best access to go diving on the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Humpback whales, turtles, rays are all local residents and it’s one of the best places on Earth to swim with Whale Sharks.
10. Gorkhi Terelj National Park, Mongolia
An untouched, rugged, enormous wonder, Mongolia has seen a 28% increase in travellers looking for a truly unique travel experience and they’re banking on further growth in 2018.
A highlight is Gorkhi Terelj National Park, a short drive from the capital Ulaanbaatar and described by USIT’s Asia explorer Sarune, (she visited 20 countries on the continent this year) as “the most astonishing landscape on the entire continent”. High praise indeed.
9. Garden Route, South Africa
South Africa’s answer to the Great Ocean Road in Australia, the Garden Route is a 300km journey through the Western Cape.
While the route is relatively small compared to even the Wild Atlantic Way here at home (1,300km), it is jam-packed full of deserted sandy beaches, lagoons, diverse wildlife and mountain passes.
8. Kakslauttanen, Finland
This little village in the far north of Finland has become a social media darling over the last 12 months and it’s easy to see why. It’s also contributed to a 17% jump in visitors in 2017.
The Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort has gained international acclaim for its astonishing Glass igloos and arguably the best place on the globe to witness the Aurora Borealis.
Nearly 12 months on from his first visit to Iceland, @dunta90 seldom shuts up about this magical island, which fully justifies its steep outlay.
Picking an individual destination within Iceland is like trying to decide which is better – ice cream, rollercoasters, Christmas or NYE in New York. You can’t pick one. Instead, make sure to visit (in no particular order) Gullfoss, the Blue Lagoon, Kirkjufell, Vik and the Black Sand Beach. Unforgettable.
6. The Great Wall, China
Such a unique and fascinating culture is a difficult place to ignore for the more curious kind of traveller. On his recent trip to China James.ODonoghue@usit.ie was blown away, specifically by the Great Wall.
International visitors to China have increased 6% in the first half of 2017 but the expectation is for that number to be dwarfed by 2018 growth as the cost of flights and guided tours continue to fall.
5. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Our No.1 destination in Asia isn’t going anywhere fast, however, more and more Irish travellers are now venturing into Northern Thailand.
While the traditional J1 Thailand island havens of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan remain as popular as ever, it’s the sustainable tourism trend in Chiang Mai which is really turning Irish heads. From glorious temples to incredibly rewarding volunteer programmes, Chiang Mai is expecting to welcome 10 million visitors in 2018!
It’s now pretty difficult to justify an adventure in Thailand without visiting the Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary, a project gaining global acclaim in reversing the tide on animal exploitation in other parts of the country.
4. Mt.Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
The most popular destination for ‘challenge tourism’ (we may have just made up phrase up). Standing at over 6,000m, the roof of Africa is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world and with multiple routes taking the most adventurous Irish travellers through every landscape imaginable, it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime journey.
It’s also becoming unusual for those tackling Kilimanjaro to stop there, with the resort industry in Zanzibar now dotted with world-class accommodation and arguably one of the best beaches on the planet.
3. Torres Del Paine, Chile/Argentina
Isolated, rugged and breathtakingly beautiful, the trek has become a lot more accessible given that direct flights from London to Chile have come online recently bringing the glaciers, mountain passes, marble caves and otherworldly landscapes within Irish travellers grasp.
2. Inca Trail, Peru
Hiking permit applications to the lost city of Machu Picchu have never been more in demand. In fact, for 2018 they were released three months early as travellers from around the globe make plans to visit the No.1 attraction on the planet in countless polls and awards.
1. Hoi An, Vietnam
Perfectly situated along Vietnam’s coast between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the fishing village of Hoi An is one of the most idyllic destinations anywhere in the world. If you are still unsure about your travel plans for 2018, please consider Vietnam and specifically this town which itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Enchanting locals, cheap tailored suits, the best food you’ve ever tasted and lanterns dotted around the village at town create an atmosphere unlike any other we’ve ever come across, Hoi An is a worthy winner of our Hottest Destination in 2018.
Need help planning your next adventure? When you sense of adventure calls, you need to #JustUSIT and our travel experts can help with global packages, adventure tours and flights all tailored to give you the best possible travel experience for you. Drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org, give us a call (01) 602 1906 or drop into any of our branches nationwide and let’s make 2018 your best travel year yet!