FROM exotic lands to old favourites and island escapes, Flight Centre and their travel consultants have studied travel trends, surveyed customers and come up with a list of 10 destinations to see and to be seen at in 2009.
The list ranges from the affordable to the extravagant but travellers will find something to suit their travel tastes and budgets. So if youâ??re in search of endless summers, looking for a new stop-over city or in need of some European culture then make a bee-line for the 2009 top destinations according to Flight Centre.
Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony, gained independence in 1975 and was plunged into many years of civil war. Thankfully that is all in the past and this beautiful country is fast regaining its reputation and popularity as one of the worldâ??s top diving spots.
With more than 2500 kmâ??s of coastline to explore youâ??ll be spoiled for choice if Mozambique is top of your â??must seeâ?? destination list. Thereâ??s the Inhambane Peninsula, the Bazaruto Archipelago, Bazaruto and Benguerra Islands, Pemba and the magnificent Quirimbas Archipelago.
Found in the Cabo Delgado province of Northern Mozambique, the 32 islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago are unspoiled and largely undeveloped.
A perennial favourite for South African travellers Mauritius remains one of Flight Centreâ??s top sellers. There are a plethora of accommodation options ranging from self-catering to six-star luxury on the island and the short four hour flight is all that is between holiday makers and the perfect beach getaway.
The island has much to offer. Most hotels offer excellent beaches, gastronomic feasts, water and land sports, structured activities for children, themed evenings for adults and all round value for money.
With its sublime stretch of Adriatic coast, Croatia has long been regarded as one of the most beautiful parts of Europe. The country makes its third appearance on Flight Centreâ??s top ten list. Bookings to Croatia reflect its popularity with travellers who now have to book well in advance to secure a summer sailing trip. But itâ??s not just the sailing that attracts travellers; there is a special atmosphere to Croatian towns and villages, many of which are built on the sites of ancient Greek settlements.
Between the lush Red River Delta and the highlands in the north, known for their magnificent scenery and colourful hill tribes, and the agricultural plans and floating markets of the Mekong Delta in the south, lie miles of white sandy beaches, towering mountains, rivers and dense forests, and the thousands of bizarre rock and cave formations on the islands of Halong Bay.
Although the food is inexpensive and shopping bargains are everywhere, Vietnam is rich with its perfect balance between ancient times and the here and now, and its people welcoming visitors with open arms.
Oman is really unspoiled. There are beautiful and ancient buildings, forts and villages that are really well preserved. The lifestyle in Oman ranges from the very traditional to the ultra-modern (with the main industry being oil). Youâ??re able to visit with a traditional Bedouin family, spend a few nights in a desert camp, thereâ??s dune bashing, shopping in the Souqs, visits to the hinterland, exquisite diving, modern spas, spectacular sightseeing and more.
Oman is very much an up-and-coming destination for adventurous South African travellers wishing to experience the Middle East in an unspoiled and un-touristy fashion. While the destination could be considered quite pricey it is worthwhile.
There is excellent flight connectivity to Oman via any of the Middle Eastern carriers. Emirates, Qatar and Etihad all fly into Muscat via their respective hubs. In some cases there are as many as five flights per day per airline into Oman, making it very accessible for a short stopover.
The Czech Republic has slowly been emerging as a popular tourist destination, favoured particularly by the discerning travellers seeking culture and charm rather than pizzazz and parties.
Prague, westernized and cosmopolitan, is a beautiful city of spires and a visual feast of medieval, baroque and art nouveau architecture. Leave the city behind and visitors will find a magnificent undulating landscape of mountains and plains, forests and farmland, castle and chateauxâ??s
Zanzibar, the â??Island of Spicesâ? is one of the few true tropical islands in the Indian Ocean with all-year-round beach weather and plenty to keep you occupied. Other activities to keep you busy include diving and snorkelling (Zanzibar has some of the worldâ??s best and safest dive sites), dolphin safaris, dhow trips and of course magnificent deep-sea fishing (barracuda, marlin, sailfish and billfish to name but a few).
For centuries Zanzibar has enticed those in search of business; today it remains an irresistible attraction for those seeking a heavenly beach holiday or an exploration into its exotic heritage – or a bit of both.
For many travellers the allure of an unspoilt and little-explored country is irresistible. Emerging from a violent past of human rights atrocities, war and political instability, Cambodia is recovering from its past and slowly becoming a top destination on the South East Asian travel map.
Modern day Cambodia is the successor kingdom of the powerful Khmer Empire which ruled most of what is today Vietnam, Laos and Thailand from the 9th to 14th centuries. Although the country does not have the same volume of attractions as some of its neighbours, the Cambodian people are incredibly friendly, providing a welcoming embrace for travellers.
Spain is comprised of numerous autonomous regions, offering such variation within one country. The hundreds of miles of Mediterranean coastline provide ample opportunity to get off the beaten track, and the country’s vibrant cities and colourful festivals will amaze and delight even the most seasoned traveller.
The Costa del Sol is a beautiful sun-drenched stretch of coast that runs for nearly 160 kilometres to the east and west of Malaga. And itâ??s just waiting to be discovered. Spend a few lazy days basking in the sun or take to the road and visit the many fishing villages and ancient towns.
Shaped like a long narrow strip and making up the western part of South America’s tail, travellers have long been drawn to this country because of the multitude of natural attractions. From the northern desert to the Lake District, and the mountains and fjords of Patagonia in the south, Chile has some superb National Parks, including Easter Island famous for its mysterious giant statues, and numerous activities for outdoor enthusiasts
Besides natural beauty and an interesting blend of cultures, Chile offers the visitor excellent wines and seafood, unique handicrafts and shopping, and a variety of characteristic architecture, making it a beautiful and memorable place to visit.
Visit www.flightcentre.co.za to access a worldwide library of destination information and holiday deals to help you plan your 2009 getaway to these top spots. For more information you can also call 0860 400 747.