Inflation, recession, global conflict, labor unrest and stock market volatility cannot stop our human desire to get away. After two years of Covid-related restrictions, travel in 2022 rebounded nearly to pre-pandemic levels. International travel boosted spending in the world's most-visited cities and was a key contributor in driving their recovery. Total tourism spending in 2023 is projected to be $1.16 trillion dollars globally, and may surpass even 2019 levels as travelers from China return to the road. Restaurants and hospitality brands are leaping to meet the moment, opening up in hot cities and remote getaways. Many museums and cultural institutions are also being refreshed and renewed.
We have compiled a list of a few places that can fulfill your vacation needs, including outdoor adventure, luxurious pampering, delicious food, and nightlife.
Golf and Glow in St. Lucia:
St. Lucia has been the Caribbean's answer to vacation demand, as tourism has returned to pre-pandemic levels. A record 39,000 visitors arrived in July alone, and Cabot Saint Lucia will make its debut in March. The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority is inviting travelers to discover the island's more intimate and exclusive accommodations through its new Collection de Pépites, which showcases luxury villas and boutique properties such as Rabot Hotel.
Splash with the Kids in the Ivory Coast:
Ivory Coast is positioning itself as the next hot spot in West Africa, with overseas tourist arrivals increasing at an average annual rate of 7.2%. The Ivorian government began its "Sublime Côte d'Ivoire" plan, which aims to bring in 4 million tourists a year by 2025. A new 60,000-seat stadium is set to open in time for the Africa Cup of Nations soccer tournament in January 2024. Abidjan, the country's entry point, is a lagoon-facing commercial city that has started to see the arrival of five-star boutique hotels. To escape the city rush, take a 20-minute boat ride to Ile Boulay's trendy Boulay Beach Resort.
In San Pédro, opt for La Maison du Soleil or Hotel Eden Roc Ivoire. In Assinie-Mafia, Coucoué Lodge is a popular weekend escape. Stop at the Grand Bassam market on the way to sample choukouya, roadside marinated and grilled meats with onions and tomatoes.
Rediscover Regal Relics in Madrid:
Madrid has become a popular destination for European tourism due to its abundance of big-city perks, including museums, a decadent dining and drinking scene, and a central park. Renovations at the Mandarin Oriental Ritz and Marriott's Edition have rescued historical, palace-style buildings from disrepair, and Andalusian celebrity chef Dani Garcia has taken over an indoor-outdoor space overlooking the city. There are also venues by savvy independent chefs who are challenging perceptions of local flavors, such as Bugao, which serves up inventive dishes with seafood fished from the Strait of Gibraltar.
Ogle World-Class Art in Oslo:
Oslo is undergoing a quiet renaissance, with an overhaul of the Sorenga neighborhood turning it into a popular swimming spot and the Astrup Fearnley Museet becoming a new home for the country's National Museum. The Sommerro hotel, located in one of Oslo's oldest neighborhoods, boasts three bars and five restaurants. The city also serves as a jumping-off point to explore Norway's mountains and fjords, with innovative hospitality options such as the Juvet Landscape Hotel and Under, a restaurant 5 meters (16 feet) below the surface of the North Sea.
Snag a Deal in Dizzying Istanbul:
Turkey's largest city is buzzing due to an influx of Russians and Ukrainians, leading to its second-highest tourism revenue ever in chilly October. Hotels remain full, and reservations at top restaurants are hard to nab. Turk Fatih Tutak holds the highest Michelin rating in Istanbul, and Avlu serves excellent Turkish dishes. Galataport, a mostly completed cruise port complex, brings a bit of Dubai-like glitter to the shores of the Bosporus. Luxury retailers in fancier neighborhoods such as Nisantasi or at huge malls like Zorlu Center see out-of-towners queuing up for lira bargains. However, the government hasn't fully lifted the Covid restrictions on late-night music, sending the once-raucous party scene underground after 1 a.m.
So, where are you guys going? 😏