Cuba, Costa Rica & Uzbekistan: this year's 3 biggest risers
What have Cuba, Costa Rica and Uzbekistan got in common? Well, according to our Travel Trend Report for 2019, these three countries rose the highest number of places on our Top 25 destination list over the past year.
So what made Cuba move from 27th on our list to 14th, Costa Rica rise from 41st to 21st, and Uzbekistan to increase by a staggering 24 places to 15th? Let’s find out…
Rum, cigars and vintage cars are just some of the well-known symbols of this fascinating Caribbean island, one that in 2019 is set to welcome 5 million visitors, according to the country’s tourism ministry. This would be the 12th consecutive year of growth in tourist numbers.
The expansion of accommodation choices, including 5-star hotels in the capital Havana and casa particulares (private homestays) has attracted a rising number of holidaymakers. Tourism promotional campaigns have also increased substantially, leading to more interest in the country from world travellers.
Our Cuba tours take in both city and countryside, including Havana and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Viñales Valley. We also spend a couple of days in Cayo Ensenachos with its crystal-clear Caribbean waters and white-sand beaches. The country is rich in old and new history where European and African influences mix in a Caribbean climate. With 1950s vehicles on the roads and colonial architecture, it truly feels like you have gone back in time on this charming island.
Biodiverse Costa Rica
In 2006, Costa Rica had only one indirect flight to Europe. Today there are eight airlines offering this route, seven directly and one indirectly. Not only are the number of airlines travelling to this enchanting Central American country increasing, but so too are the number of flights by these airlines. With incredible wildlife and natural beauty, it is no surprise that the numbers are rising!
This small country of 5 million people accounts for 4% of the world’s estimated species, many of which are not found anywhere else on earth. Our Costa Rica wildlife holidays offer you the chance to see this majestic wildlife up close with tours that take in creatures great and small, from sea turtles and crocodiles to monkeys and butterflies. Costa Rica offers nature holidays like few others can.
Taking the Silk Road
Around 1,000 Britons visit this Central Asian country each year, though visitor numbers are on the rise, helped partly by the fact that since July 2018, UK travellers will be able to visit the country for up to five days without applying for a visa, while new electronic visa systems have assisted those wishing to stay longer.
Peter Frankopan’s 2015 best-selling book 'The Silk Roads' may also have something to do with the rising interest from travellers. Uzbekistan was an important part of the ancient Silk Road route and our Uzbekistan tours take in Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva - all vital stop-off points for passing traders. The old wealth of these stunning cities can be witnessed in the majestic mosques, towering minarets and mesmerising mosaics.
Similar to Cuba, travelling through Uzbekistan feels like you are travelling back in time. The walled city of Khiva dates back to the 6th century and is like a living museum, while Samarkand is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia, dating back to 700 BC. Ancient historic sites are found around every corner.
These are some of the reasons for the rising popularity of these destinations, and you can enjoy all these with our multi award-winning VIP travel services, including door-to-door transfers, flights from your local airport and the reassurance that you’ll be paying the best possible price thanks to our Price Promise.
If you have any questions about these or any other destination we offer, then please do not hesitate to contact our expert team.
Although she loves a lie-in at home, Laura is often up and about before dawn on holiday. She’s watched the sun rise over the Grand Canyon, Uluru and Angkor Wat, but her favourite was seeing the first light of the New Year sweeping across the yacht-dotted waters of Sydney Harbour.
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Our award-winning collection of holidays covers all seven continents, with carefully planned itineraries ranging from rail journeys and river cruises, to small-group adventures and trips exclusively for solo travellers.