20 for 2020: Airbnb Reveals the 20 Destinations to Visit Next Year
Are you looking forward to a memorable holiday in 2020? Have you been wondering where to go for your next vacation? Airbnb is forecasting the 20 trending destinations for 2020. The list includes eco-conscious cities and countries across the world and is based entirely on Airbnb booking data.
Right from the post-industrial culture hubs like Milwaukee and Guadalajara or emerging destinations that promote in sustainable tourism or cities like Maastricht and Malindi, this year’s list is full of surprise travel destinations. The top trending locales are cities and regions that are preparing for big events like the 2020 Mars Exploration Program launching from Cape Canaveral and the many surf competitions happening in Ubatuba, Brazil.
Here are Airbnb’s 20 trending destinations for 2020 based on year-over-year growth in bookings:
1. Milwaukee, USA
The host of next year’s Democratic National Convention, Milwaukee makes it to the top of the trending list. This historic gem on the shores of Lake Michigan often slips under the radar but has a terrific bar and restaurant scene and fascinating cultural attractions that include a Calatrava-designed art museum.
The name "Milwaukee" comes from an Algonquian word millioke, which means "good", "beautiful" and "pleasant land. Milwaukee lies along the shores and bluffs of Lake Michigan at the confluence of three rivers. It has over 105 miles of scenic bike lanes, which is why it is experiencing an upsurge in interest among travellers.
2. Bilbao, Spain
Bilbao is a city in northern Spain, the largest city in the province of Biscay and in the Basque Country as a whole. The main hall of the city is the Arriaga Theater, reopened in 1985 as a municipal venue with a varied repertoire that includes dancing, opera, live music and theatre. It has more than a dozen museums covering a range of fields including art, science, and sport, which have played a central role in Bilbao being named one of the most creative cities in the world.
Next year, Bilbao will also become a top destination for sports fans: it’s one of the host cities of Europe’s most beloved soccer competition. Visitors will also be rewarded with a lively dining scene, breathtaking architecture and an unforgettable cityscape.
3. Buriram, Thailand
The rural province of Buriram is home to some of Thailand’s most treasured Khmer relics. Its best-known monument is the incredible Phanom Rung complex. Buriram, which means 'city of happiness' and the main languages spoken here are central Thai, Lao, and Khmer.
The province has a football club, Buriram United F.C., which plays at the Chang Arena. In addition to ancient ruins, it has also become a sporting hotspot: 2018 saw the inaugural MotoGP motor racing event at the Chang International Circuit which also plays host to the Buriram Marathon each year. MotoGP is scheduled to return in March next year.
4. Sunbury, Victoria, Australia
A short drive northwest of Melbourne, the suburb of Sunbury is a popular spot with savvy locals thanks to its wildlife, wineries and Victorian-era architecture. Its biggest claim to fame is as the birthplace of cricket’s most sought-after trophy — The Ashes. Sunbury is situated north-west of Melbourne's central business district.
The area has several important Aboriginal archaeological sites, including five earth rings. In 2020, Sunbury looks to attract cricket fans from near and far as Melbourne will be hosting the ICC T20 World Cup.
Romania, with its pristine hills and ancient rural villages, is the perfect destination for anyone looking for something off-the-beaten-track. The country has some of the best-preserved virgin forests in Europe and, according to the 2018 Environmental Performance Index, ranks 15th globally when it comes to ecosystem vitality. Romania derives its name from the Latin romanus, meaning "citizen of Rome".
Tourism is a significant contributor to the Romanian economy, generating around 5% of GDP. The popular summer attractions of Mamaia and other Black Sea Resorts attracts thousands of tourists as does the Putna Monastery in Bukovina, the oldest of the medieval churches of Moldavia.
6. Xi'an, China
Xi'an, also known as Sian, is the capital of Shaanxi Province and has a rich and culturally significant history. Often cited as one of the birthplaces of Chinese civilisation, it is best known as the home of the terracotta warriors — a vast collection of prehistoric clay soldiers discovered by local farmers in 1974.
Today, the capital of China’s western Shaanxi province is a major culinary melting pot while its numerous historical monuments have earned it the nickname "China's outdoor museum”. The ancient city plans a new offering in 2020: a tourism programme that will introduce 30 nighttime tour routes throughout Xi’an with highlights including nighttime markets and performances. The most influential religions in Xi'an are the Chinese traditional religion and Taoist schools, represented by many major and minor temples.
7. Eugene, USA
This medium-sized city in the Pacific Northwest punches above its weight: many multinational businesses were launched in Eugene and the city has made a name for itself as a culinary hub in Oregon. Thanks to the surrounding natural beauty, Eugene has long attracted eco-conscious newcomers many of whom have helped make the city a hub for the organic food industry. Eugene’s eco credentials are also apparent in its commitment to going carbon neutral next year.
This green city is also a track and field destination, and will welcome athletes and spectators when it hosts national qualifying trials in summer 2020. The city is also noted for its natural environment, recreational opportunities (especially bicycling, running/jogging, rafting, and kayaking), and its focus on the arts. Eugene's official slogan is "A Great City for the Arts and Outdoors". It is also called the "Emerald City".
This small European country packs a lot into its small landmass — the city of Luxembourg was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 thanks to its enchanting historic core, dramatically perched on a clifftop. Beyond the city itself, the country’s forested hills are home to medieval castles, rocky gorges, charming villages and superb vineyards.
It is bordered by Belgium to the west and north, Germany to the east, and France to the south. Its capital, Luxembourg City, is one of the four official capitals of the European Union. It retains a number of folk traditions, having been for much of its history a profoundly rural country. There are several notable museums, located mostly in the capital. These include the National Museum of History and Art (NMHA), the Luxembourg City History Museum, and the new Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art (Mudam). The city of Luxembourg itself is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, on account of the historical importance of its fortifications.
9. Guadalajara, Mexico
Often overlooked, Mexico’s second city is steadily gaining the recognition it deserves. Guadalajara operates at a less frantic pace than Mexico City yet it has a wealth of attractions to reward visitors — from its colonial architecture in the hipster Chapultepec neighborhood to an impressive selection of festivals and museums. Guadalajara’s green credentials are also worth noting: the local government has embarked on an initiative that encourages cyclists and pedestrians to reclaim public spaces normally dominated by cars.
The city often exhibits works by international artists and is a must-see for international cultural events whose radius of influence reaches most of the countries of Latin America, including the southwestern United States.
Almost 2,000 miles west of Australia, this picturesque archipelago nation is home to rugged islands, deserted beaches and stunning Pacific wildlife. Vanuatu comprises over 80 islands and has the highest density of languages per capita in the world — over 100 native languages are spoken throughout the archipelago.
The range of activities on offer are also diverse — from hiking up a volcano to world-class scuba diving. The region is rich in sea life, with more than 4,000 species of marine molluscs and a large diversity of marine fishes.
11. Cali, Colombia
The world’s salsa capital not only offers energising local music and dance, its rich Afro-Colombian heritage has also infused the city with a distinctive caleño culture. Cali has a real zest and an unmistakably electrifying atmosphere. This melting pot of indigenous, European and African cultures has a tropical party vibe and energizing nightlife — and at around 1,000 meters above sea level it enjoys a warm and breezy temperature during the day and a refreshingly cool one at night.
As the only major Colombian city with access to the Pacific Coast, Cali is the main urban and economic centre in the south of the country, and has one of Colombia's fastest-growing economies. The city was founded by the Spanish explorer Sebastián de Belalcázar. In downtown Cali there are many historic churches such as La Merced and La Ermita and a well-preserved historical center.
12. Cape Canaveral, FL, US
This Floridian cape is best known around the world as the site of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station but it also offers an incredible 72 miles of beachfront and three significant protected areas — Canaveral National Seashore, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Sebastian Inlet State Park. Cape Canaveral lies east of Merritt Island, separated from it by the Banana River.
It was discovered by the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León. In July 2020, Cape Canaveral will be poised once again for the international stage — this time as the launch site of NASA's Mars 2020 Exploration Program.
13. Aberdeen, Scotland
Aberdeen, located in northeast Scotland, is known as the Granite City thanks to the gleaming white stone that much of the city has been built with. Scotland’s third largest city has much to offer besides a striking cityscape: from fine dining, galleries and museums in the city itself, to rugged coastal scenery and romantic ruins in the surrounding countryside.
The city's two universities, the University of Aberdeen, founded in 1495, and Robert Gordon University, which was awarded university status in 1992, make Aberdeen the educational centre of the north-east of Scotland. And like many other destinations on our list, Aberdeen has major sustainability plans in place with the aim of drastically reducing carbon emissions.
14. Courtenay, BC, Canada
Courtenay, set in the charming Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, is the perfect starting point for outdoor adventurers. Surrounded by rolling mountains, alpine meadows and bohemian villages, this charming small city is another favourite with the eco-conscious traveller. The local authority has embarked on a number of initiatives to reduce its environmental impact including the adoption of targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Every summer, usually in July, the largest music festival, the Island Music Fest on Vancouver Island takes place in the Comox Valley. Performers and audience members gather for three days of camping and an eclectic mix of music. There are several other festivals in the area and they include the North Island Festival of Performing Arts, Fiddlefest, Comox Valley Highland Games and the Comox Valley Piano Society puts on performances at the Stan Hagen Theatre
15. Ubatuba, Brazil
With over 100 beaches, the city of Ubatuba is the undisputed surfing capital of São Paulo state and hosts numerous surf championships throughout the year. Ubatuba and its surroundings have become popular as tourists are attracted by the stunning coastline and pristine nature of the country. The area also has scores of hiking trails that weave their way through lush Atlantic rainforest.
Ubatuba is an important tourist city, receiving tourists from many parts of Brazil as it has over 100 beaches. It has been a nature preserve since March 22, 1977.
16. Les Contamines-Montjoie, France
The village of Les Contamines is a jewel at the heart of the Mont Blanc region. Nestled between the well-known resorts of Chamonix and Megève, it’s the ideal base for mountain climbing in summer or for skiing in winter.
The village is picture-postcard-pretty and features many old farm buildings that have been faithfully restored in the local Savoy architectural style. The word “contamines” once meant ploughable land on the squires estate.
17. Tokyo, Japan
While Tokyo might not be off-the-beaten track, it has deservedly secured a place in our top trending list thanks in part to the upcoming Summer Olympics. In July and August next year, Japan will play host to the world's best athletes for the fourth time.
The world’s largest metropolitan area has put in place a comprehensive strategy to ensure the Games are an environmentally-friendly event: reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions and using renewable energy, public transport and low-energy vehicles.
18. Kerala, India
For many travellers, Kerala is South India's most enchanting state. With its palm-lined coast, rolling coffee plantations and stunning Arabian Sea views, Kerala is an oasis of calm in a country that moves at a busy pace. It is divided into 14 districts with the capital being Thiruvananthapuram. And with an impressive array of beaches, lakes, mountains and waterfalls, Kerala is home to some of the best eco-friendly destinations on the subcontinent.
The state runs a Responsible Tourism programme encouraging residents and visitors alike to enjoy the culture of the place while also conserving it. Kerala is also home to a number of performance arts. These include five classical dance forms: Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Koodiyattom, Thullal and Krishnanattam, which originated and developed in the temple theatres during the classical period under the patronage of royal houses.
19. Malindi, Kenya
This bustling coastal village is home to a multicultural melting pot of African, Arab and European residents, and stunning natural beauty. Dotted with brawny palms, this historical Kenyan port town introduces travellers to the country’s diverse aquatic wildlife in Malindi Marine National Park, making it an idyllic spot for divers. Known for its Swahili architecture, fresh-caught seafood, and natural wonders like the Marafa Depression – also known as Hell’s Kitchen — this pristine beach town is much more than a laid-back sunny retreat.
The country at large is also making sizeable strides in preserving our planet: at the recent UN Climate Action Summit, Kenya pledged to plant two billion trees by 2021 and committed to accelerating energy efficiency by three percent each year. The city is popular among Italian tourists. The Watamu and Malindi Marine National Parks form a continuous protected coastal area south of Malindi.
20. Maastricht, Netherlands
In 20th position is Maastricht, a Dutch city with a wealth of historic buildings — more than any Dutch city outside Amsterdam. With its Roman history and a warren of narrow streets, Maastricht is also home to numerous museums and in March 2020 will play host to one of the world’s largest art fairs — TEFAF Maastricht. Maastricht is situated in the southeast of the Netherlands and is adjacent to the border with Belgium. Today, the city is a thriving cultural and regional hub.
It became well known through the Maastricht Treaty and as the birthplace of the euro. Maastricht has 1677 national heritage buildings (Rijksmonumenten), the second highest number in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam. The city is visited by tourists for shopping and recreation, and has a large international student population.
(From Airbnb, collated from their booking data)