For those of you with adventurous clients, the savvy folk over at Explore have crunched the numbers to give you the jump on the untapped destinations that’ll impress the most discerning traveller.
The new decade signals a shift in the way people travel and Explore has seen increased demand in undiscovered destinations, as well as travellers seeking life-enriching experiences, from meeting a tribal chief in Benin to staying the night at a Buddhist temple in Japan.
These are its picks for 2020:
Bookings for Explore’s Benin and Togo Voodoo Discovery trip rose 110 per cent year-on-year in 2019, and bookings for 2020 are 90 per cent ahead of those for 2019. The trip’s popularity reflects a growing trend: travellers are looking for quirky, unique and adventurous new experiences outside of the traditional beach holiday.
Explore’s Benin and Togo Voodoo Discovery trip includes a visit to Ganvie, largest stilt village in Africa, to meet a village soothsayer to learn about Voodoo traditions and rituals. Watch a traditional Voodoo dancing ceremony and meet a tribal healer who treats patients with voodoo rites and herbs. The trip also visits the Somba people and a Bassar chief, who will explain their traditional way of life.
Since the FCO lifted its travel restrictions earlier this year, Explore’s Highlights of Lebanon trip has sold out for 2019 and 60 per cent of 2020 departures are also fully booked.
Explore’s Highlights of Lebanon trip starts in cosmopolitan Beirut with a walking tour around the capital. Stay overnight in the grounds of a working monastery in the Qadisha Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, experiencing rural Lebanese life and homemade food. Visit the impressive Roman ruins at Baalbek, marvel at a 1,000-year-old cedar forest and see a 12th Century castle at Byblos.
Dubbed ‘the new Croatia’ Albania is fast becoming one of Eastern Europe’s travel hotspots, growing on average 20 per cent over the last four years. This reflects the growing popularity of undiscovered Europe, where travellers can explore an unusual destination that’s only a short flight away.
Explore’s trip visits Lake Ohrid, Llogara National Park and Butrint, one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the Balkans.
Japan has been growing in popularity, thanks in part to this year’s Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympics. Among Explore’s most popular trips is our Simply Japan trip, which takes customers on a journey through this fascinating country from Tokyo to Hiroshima. Stay overnight in a Buddhist temple and attend the morning fire service at Fudo-do Temple and try green tea popcorn at Nishiki Food Market.
Following in the wake of this year’s Lion King remake, interest in wildlife safari trips has increased for 2020. Travellers are keen to see wildlife and one of the most popular destinations is Botswana, which has grown 30 per cent for Explore in 2019.