After coming face-to-face with a potential cabin crew strike during the 2009 holiday season, British Airways (BA) is ready to move on to the new year. Insider experts from the carrier have selected their top 10 destinations for the year ahead. Landmark sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games will influence the travel calendar. A growing trend towards eco-tourism puts Stockholm on the map, while Istanbul is expected to be one of the most visited European destinations in recognition of its recent title of European City Of Culture.
According to Paolo De Renzis, BA's regional commercial manager for Middle East, the airline's New York and Las Vegas routes are tipped to be the most popular amongst Middle East customers in 2010. "In 2010, holidaymakers will have more choice of beach destinations than ever, especially now that British Airways operates more flights from London Gatwick to the Caribbean than any other airline," he said.
British Airways top 10 list for 2010 comprises the following destinations:
1. Cape Town, South Africa
Nearly 500,000 supporters are expected to visit South Africa during the FIFA World Cup in June. With Cape Town home to beaches, mountains, vineyards and the Cape Town Stadium, it's sure to be a popular base for fans.
2. Istanbul, Turkey
As European Capital of Culture for 2010, Istanbul is Europe's hotspot in the New Year. Offering great value for money and a huge variety of things to see and do – from beaches and bazaars to the breathtaking Bosphorus.
3. Las Vegas
The film "The Hangover" has rekindled our love affair with the entertainment capital of the world. Not just a haven for partying Las Vegas is firmly established as a family friendly destination with everyone from U2 to Cirque de Soleil performing on the famous strip. BAs newly launched route now means greater connectivity to the bright lights and glamour of Americas most iconic swinging city.
Already a must-go destination for skiing and snowboarding, its no surprise that Canada will play host to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in February and March.
5. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Punta Cana is one of the emerging destinations for holidaymakers in the New Year, with tour operators and industry experts citing local beaches as the most stunning in the Caribbean. Known for its golf and spa facilities, the island is one of the best-kept property secrets in recent times.
6. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, Croatia offers privacy and tranquility making it a popular hideout for the jet set, including recent visitors Jay-Z and Beyonce. Dubrovnik holds many attractions and delightful boutiques, with each corner of the city offering a unique experience. However, its cluster of private islands has made this a new favourite destination for Hollywood A-Listers to get-away.
Regularly voted one of the best cities in the world to live in, Stockholm has become the model city for others to follow Europe's epicenter of biodiversity and ecology will celebrate its official title of European Green Capital in 2010, making it a popular choice for eco-tourists.
9. The Maldives
Set in the Indian Ocean, this tropical paradise will be one of the hottest destinations for holidaymakers and honeymooners in 2010. Collections of coral reefs boast unrivalled facilities for diving, while the picture postcard beaches offer chill-out bliss to the maximum.
10. Delhi, India
Thanks to the growing trend for tiger safari, nearby destinations Bandhavgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and Kanha National Park provide another reason to get off the beaten track and visit Delhi in 2010. If none of these top 10 destinations suit your needs, there are comprehensive destination guides on ba.com which detail events and destinations.