Moscow, Botswana and Qatar are among the destinations trending upward in terms of traveler interest this spring, according to a new forecast from American Express Travel. Here are the highlights from the organization’s latest data:
- Moscow, Russia +238%: Moscow in April and onward is when the city rids the “slush” and turns green again. The temperatures are perfect for sightseeing and city life is in full. Bookings are up +238 percent as May draws in travelers to join in the excitement of the parades, fireworks and Russian street parties May 1-9 for a week of celebration.
- Botswana, South Africa +200%: Besides the fact that Prince Harry just took a trip here (and without Meg), Botswana is trending up this spring for travelers looking to check a safari off their bucket list. The country has some of the most dramatic wilderness areas in Africa, AmEx Travel said, with equally dramatic weather. The best months to visit are from April-October during the dry season because it offers the best game-viewing, and bookings are up +200 percent, as March is the end of wet season and the best time for viewing the exotic birds in Okavango and Morem.
- Santiago, Chile +121%: When spring awakens in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s autumn in Chile. As Chile enters autumn, peak season dies down, making it the perfect time to explore the destination more intimately but still experience comfortable weather; which is why savvy travelers are boosting bookings for spring +91 percent. Santiago and central Chile is rising +121 percent as its vineyards draw in visitors from around the world and during Chile’s autumn, the region becomes lush and colorful.
- Santorini, Greece + 94%: From the sunsets in Oia to the crystal blue Aegean Sea and the reduced fares from March through May – travelers are flocking to Santorini this spring. Bookings are up +94 percent right before high season kicks in in June as the blooming flowers and lush croplands and vineyards are at their peak, making spring the optimal time to explore the natural seascape derived from a volcanic eruption.
- Doha, Qatar +79%: Doha, Qatar, is both a modern and eclectic city with high-end dining, shopping as well as colorful souqs and adventurous excursions. Bookings to Doha have spiked +79 percent over the months of March and April, right before the temperatures rise and one of the most popular festivals takes place. Centered on Doha’s Corniche, the Qatar International Food Festival draws in cuisine and visitors from around the world from March 23-April 8.
- St. Louis, Missouri +60%: Travel to St. Louis is up +60 percent this spring as the Botanical Gardens are in full bloom and the city is bustling with events and festivals. Breweries, baseball and live music performances are a major draw to this rising city and the hip district of ‘the loop’ has bars, galleries and restaurants, making for the perfect weekend getaway for U.S. travelers.
- Amsterdam, Netherlands +32%: The picturesque canals of Amsterdam continue their perennial beckoning to travelers far and wide, trending up 32 percent this spring. As Holland thaws out from the long winter, the spring months bring unrivaled beauty as the city’s flora is in full bloom, including the famous tulips and Vondelpark. Travelers staying in Amsterdam in late April will experience King’s Day, a citywide celebration showcasing the quintessential elements of Holland’s rich history and culture – and don’t forget your orange-colored clothing!
- Lima +22% & Cusco +56%, Peru: With rumors of Machu Picchu’s imminent closure, Peru is (rightfully) climbing the ranks of world travelers’ must-see lists with Cusco up 56 percent this spring. In addition to its proximity to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, the high-altitude Andean city is home to an architectural mecca, with a unique mix of Incan ruins, Spanish styles and modern additions. Down the mountains and a few hundred miles away, the city of Lima is up 22 percent. The seaside metropolis flaunts an unrivaled food scene that blends native Incan traditions, colonial cuisine and modern takes, steeped in a rich culture like no other.
- Savannah, Georgia +26%: Savannah is quickly becoming Georgia’s hottest vacation destination, with travelers bypassing the larger cities of Atlanta and Columbus in favor of this town’s down-home Southern hospitality (up 26%). Savannah’s epicurean landscape offers a twist on Southern comfort food, flavored by the seaside delights stemming from its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean – travelers can enjoy the River Street Seafood Festival in early May to fully experience the freshly-caught crawfish, shrimp and crab.
- Papeete, Tahiti +25%: Tahiti is trending up 20 percent this spring. Spring travelers will experience the end of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer and early fall that typically have cheaper hotel prices, smaller crowds and lush landscapes. Travelers can hike to the top of Fautaua Waterfall, a 400-foot freefall, or take a trip to the Municipal Market in Papeete (up +25%) and scour through the vast array of fresh produce, meat, flowers and locally-made crafts.
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