Travelling the world

Travelling the world

From the far-flung to the unsung, British Airways has compiled its top 13 destinations to visit in 2013. If 2012 was about East London, then 2013 is about the Far East, as holidaymakers seek the natural unspoilt beauty, charm and good value that Asia has to offer.

In a recent poll on the airline's Facebook page, over 2,660 users nominated the overseas destinations they most want to visit next year. New York topped the list (22 per cent), followed by Australia (eight per cent), Hong Kong (seven per cent), Rio de Janeiro (five per cent) and Dubai (three per cent).

Compiled by a panel of experts, and using company data, British Airways' top 13 for 2013 features new destinations and popular favourites.

1. Sri LankaThe number one spot goes to Sri Lanka. The tropical island has seen a recent boost to tourism, becoming the must-visit destination for intrepid travellers. Ash van Wensveen, British Airways' destination manager, said: "There's a real buzz about Sri Lanka right now. For a small island it offers a lot, from endless beaches, to elephant treks and several Unesco world heritage sites to visit, it's hard to think what Sri Lanka doesn't offer." British Airways launches flights to Colombo in April.

2. Rio De Janeiro, BrazilComing in second was Rio de Janeiro in Brazil as it gears up to the 2016 Games, the 2014 Brazil World Cup, and FIFA Confederations Cup next year. With its famous sun-kissed beaches to enjoy by day and fun parties at night, there’s a lot to love about one of the most vibrant cities in the world. British Airways offers flights to Rio de Janeiro from London Heathrow.

3. Seoul, South KoreaHot on its tail is Seoul in South Korea. Mike Rock, British Airways commercial manager for Seoul, said: "There's a lot happening in Korea right now, business is thriving and it’s a tourist destination on the up. The mega metropolis is home to some 10 million people, and is attracting a fresh new audience." British Airways recently launched new flights to Seoul from Heathrow, flying six times a week. And let’s not forget, this is the place that gave us Gangnam Style. 

4. CroatiaCroatia is another hot destination for 2013. The jewel of the Adriatic ocean, Dubrovnik continues to appeal to holidaymakers from far and wide, including many high profile celebrities. Take rest on one of the country's beautiful pine-fringed beaches or adventure in its rocky coves, Croatia is set to be one of next year's must-visit inexpensive destinations so book your ticket now. 

5. VietnamFor the more adventurous, Vietnam has become one of the most talked about destinations in recent years. Not mainstream enough to be a tourist trap, many compare it to Thailand twenty years ago, making now the perfect time to visit. British Airways operates flights to Hong Kong, with connecting flights to Ho Chi Minh City using OneWorld partner Cathy Pacific.

6. Dominican RepublicHolidays in Dominican Republic are emerging as a must do, especially in Punta Cana on the south coast. Ash van Wensveen, British Airways' destination manager, said: "People are really waking up to Punta Cana. There's a real buzz from holidaymakers creating word of mouth on its affordability, fabulous hotels and beaches that dip into the Caribbean Sea."

7. Derry, Northern IrelandDubbed the Gateway to Ireland's Northwest, Derry, also known as Londonderry, is an ancient yet contemporary city. You can discover the Walled City's museums, walks and cultural trails and witness the street murals that have grown ever popular with visitors. There are also plenty of pubs, clubs, eateries and shopping districts to keep travellers entertained. The city is also the worthy recipient of the prestigious title ‘UK City of Culture 2013’.

8. Las VegasSin City is a destination where tourism continues to boom. Visit the famous Las Vegas strip, lined with luxury and themed hotels and casinos where the rich and famous go to play. You can grab a bite to eat, do some shopping and celebrity spotting all at once. If you're looking for thrills, head up to the rides on top of the Stratosphere tower or opt for a tour into the Nevada desert.

9. Tbilisi, GeorgiaMortsan, Flickr

Lying on the banks of the Kura River is Georgia's capital Tbilisi, a destination for the culturally curious as the city is full of attractions like museums, art galleries, churches, and many historical buildings and monuments. If you're up for a real adventure, travel 240km from the city to the Cave of Prometheus, a 1.2km underground track made up of 16 caves and four huge halls. With so much history seeped into this city it is the ideal place for travellers looking for an alternative to the usual city break destinations. 

10. San Diego, CaliforniaVancour, Flickr

An affluent city set around a gracefully curving bay, is the second largest city in the American state of California. There are infinite activities to try, sites to see and regions to explore. Its 70 beaches, farmers markets and hidden art is just some of the diverse attractions travellers can enjoy. The food here is great and the many local spas make this a great R&R destination.

11. Cape Town, South AfricaOne of the world's most beautiful cities, Cape Town is a mix of natural surroundings and one of the few places that you can take in the sea, the mountains and the city all in one scene. It's famous pull, Table Mountain is the prime spot to take it all in and truly appreciate this destination. As a city on the rise, both economically and with tourism, now would be a good time to visit.

12. Alicante, SpainIt's all about the sun, sea and sand. But don't be put off by Alicante's reputation as a mainstream holiday hotspot; there are plenty of places undiscovered by tourists. The historic Mediterranean port boasts stunning areas such as the Guadalest Valley, beautiful beaches like Poniente and Playa La Granadella, and numerous waterparks for fun days out. If you want to spend some time exploring at a slower pace, head for some horse-riding at one of the many ranches in the unspoilt mountains of the Costa Blanca.

13. Dubai, UAEThe paradise destination of the UAE, Dubai has become a haven for both dynamic business travellers and those looking for a relaxing holiday. The place is buzzing with hotels, clubs, eateries, water activities, great shopping and sandy beaches. Take a jeep safari into the desert and be treated to belly dancing, camel riding and a bedouin feast. Alternatively, visit the old part of the city, Bur Dubai, and immerse yourself in local culture with a visit to the famous gold souks.

Which destinations are you visiting in 2013? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @FemaleFirst_UK


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