Now that travel has returned, where are people going?
While many countries have seen their tourist arrival numbers steadily increasing last year and so far this year as well, there have been some countries that have performed much better than anticipated.
Using data gathered from official tourism agencies around the world, there are certain destinations that are coming out on top so far this year.
With tourism numbers climbing to pre-pandemic levels again, these countries are some that are showing the biggest jumps in arrivals.
These Are The Top 8 Trending Destinations This Year:
One county that is trending with travelers this year is the often-overlooked Armenia.
In January 2023, 69% more foreign tourists visited Armenia than in January 2022, based on numbers from the Armenia Tourism Committee.
People are flocking to this Eastern European country for its diverse landscape of deserts, canyons, and mountains, and not to forget the stunning Lake Sevan.
Aside from the beauty, Armenia is rich in cultural heritage and fantastic food and wine.
While tourism numbers are up for Armenia, it seems that many American travelers still don’t know about this stunning country and all it has to offer.
Thanks in part to a tourist campaign initiated by the Tbilisi government, international arrival numbers are up for this underrated country.
Known as the birthplace of wine, many come here for the rich melting pot of its capital city, to explore the countryside for the ancient cave cities, and to see Europe’s highest village.
As a trending destination, there are many reasons to visit Georgia this year.
Being known as a safe destination helps boost Georgia’s profile for tourists as well, as having a relatively perceived degree of safety is a big draw for those who come here.
This Southeast Asian hotspot is trending again, with many international tourists arriving so far this year.
Data from the Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports indicate that in January of 2023, 2.14 million visitors arrived in Thailand, a jump of over 1,500% from this time last year.
One reason for Thailand’s massive spike in arrival numbers is the reopening of China, with Thailand being a favored destination for Chinese tourists.
Of course, Thailand has been and will always remain a popular option for tourists from around the world; with beaches, islands, temples, and fantastic food, it’s clear why it’s always a frontrunner.
Those planning a trip to the Land of Smiles will need to keep in mind that this year, a tourist fee will begin.
After finally dropping its travel restrictions at the end of last year, Hong Kong has seen a huge boost in international arrivals.
January 2023 brought over seventy times the amount of visitors that January 2022 did.
With the scrapping of masks this March, tourists have been heading back to this one-of-a-kind city.
In addition to arrival numbers being up, officials have reported that retail figures are steadily creeping back up to pre-pandemic levels as well, as many people do come to this metropolis for shopping.
Not only is Hong Kong trending with travelers, but with shoppers as well.
One country in the Middle East that is trending with international travelers is Saudi Arabia.
In an effort to boost its tourism profile, Saudi Arabia is aiming for 25 million foreign visitors this year, after 16.5 tourist arrivals last year.
Ahmad Al-Khateeb, the kingdom’s Minister of Tourism, has stated that he expects Saudi Arabia to rank 17th in terms of worldwide tourist attractions, enticing visitors to come and explore the kingdom’s archeological sites, beaches, and other diverse sights.
Another reason to keep an eye on Saudi Arabia for future trips is the massive project they are planning, resulting in a new city that will be 33 times larger than New York City.
Europe is the world’s largest designation region, and travel numbers across the continent are up, with some countries faring better than others.
One front-runner with international tourist arrivals is Spain, with a whopping nearly 65.8% increase in arrivals for this January as compared to last, according to information from the National Institute of Statistics.
Spain welcomed over 70 million tourists last year, but as over 4 million arrivals have already arrived this January alone, it’s looking like it will smash last year’s number.
Also, another reason for anyone to take a trip to Spain this summer is the prospect of free train passes, allowing visitors to explore this amazing country via rail for free!
It should come as no surprise to see Dubai on this list of trending destinations for 2023, as it’s also recently been named the top destination worldwide.
And with more flight options from the United States, travel to Dubai has never been easier. As one of the top 5 most visited cities in the world, Dubai saw nearly 1.5 million visitors in January 2023 alone.
While there are many reasons travelers love Dubai, it seems this year they love it a bit more.
With endless attractions, amazing hotels and skyscrapers, and unbelievable landscapes, Dubai deserves its fanfare.
It’s been described as a perfect blend of luxury and adventure, and travelers who visit are met with an array of ways to pass the time. From desert rides to rooftop cocktails, there seems to be something for everyone’s tastes in Dubai.
Travel to Africa has taken a bit of a slow start since the pandemic, with many countries reporting upticks in international arrivals but nowhere near the massive spikes we have seen in other regions such as Europe or Asia.
A long-time favorite with those looking for safaris is Kenya, and this West African gem is seeing its international arrival numbers steadily climbing back up.
In 2022 Kenya had nearly 1.5 million international tourists, which was a massive climb from the previous year. January and February of 2023 saw nearly 300,000 tourist arrivals for Kenya, meaning it’s well on track to beat last year’s number.
Travelers who are looking for a little more luxury while they safari will also be pleased to know that high-end options in Kenya are expanding, with JW Marriott opening their first luxury safari property there this year.
Other destinations that have seen significant jumps in their international arrivals numbers so far this year include the Balkan region, Mexico, Maldives, and Switzerland.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com