Welcome to our annual “Editors’ Hot List” issue, a global mix of what our editors believe will be the hottest destinations in the upcoming year, some by country and others by region, as is the case in the U.S. where we selected Chicago and Amelia Island in NE Florida. In Chicago’s case, its growing popularity has been fueled by the city’s massive facelift by Mayor Daley over the past decades. In fact, it’s turned the “Second City” into a number one pick for leisure travel in 2011, helped even more so by the fact that it’s the home of President Obama—approval ratings notwithstanding. In Amelia Island’s case, it’s because it was one of the few Florida destinations that prospered even during all the negative publicity surrounding the BP oil spill—a disaster that spelled doom for many Sunshine State attractions totally unaffected by the disaster. A big newcomer is Colombia, which has earned its spot with a remarkable turnaround in its domestic socio-political situation, finally making it a safe and sane destination where visitors will be able to savor the country’s stunning landscapes and its unique history and cultural attractions. In the product category, we would be remiss if we did not mention the enormous popularity and growth of the global river cruise segment with all-new and renovated vessels and itineraries for 2011, ensuring a slot as a major hot pick for bookings next year. As a bonus, we also took a look at a burgeoning and relatively recent phenomenon—the growth of medical tourism around the world, a segment that’s taken on a life of its own, promising more and more commission opportunities for you in countries like Costa Rica, India, Turkey, Taiwan and others. Check out the survey statistic regarding this segment in the Introduction to Medical Tourism on page 12—you’ll be absolutely amazed.
Still another hot global travel interest that is consistently coming to the forefront is “green travel,” a travel focus that we’re highlighting in this month’s supplement, “Israel—100 Years of Green.” As you’ll see, Israel’s emphasis on “green” issues started long before other destinations took up this environmental mantra over the last couple of decades. For Israel—beginning even at the time of its earliest settlements in the early part of the 20th century—environmental issues have been as much about survival as they are about aesthetics. It’s a country that’s lived a “green” lifestyle without fanfare and has become world famous as it learned to “…make the desert bloom” and developed unmatched irrigation methods and then exported that technology that has changed the face of nations all over the world. There’s no better place in the world for green enthusiasts to pursue an environmentally conscious vacation experience than in the country that was aware of it first. As you’ll see in this in-depth look at this country’s green innovations, even Israel’s huge number of religious, historical and cultural attractions are all dependent on the country’s long-standing emphasis on preservation and sustainability—the cornerstone of eco-tourism. Share it with your “green” travelers, they’ll love it.
correction In our October Spa & Luxury issue, we highlighted Cox & Kings in the Tour Talk column and interviewed the company’s new president Thomas Stanley, a long-time industry veteran of luxury travel product. We erroneously stated he worked for TCS Expeditionsand he actually worked for Private Jet Expeditions, not Private Jet Services. Our apologies for the error.
next month It’s that time again. It’s hard to believe but we’re about to unveil the results of our 14th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards, a program—thanks to you, our readers—that continues to grow in participation each year. As always, we’re going to highlight each and every one of our winners and get their input on what they’re planning to bring to the marketplace next year to ensure they continue to win that coveted “Readers’ Choice” that you have bestowed upon them. At the same time, we’re going to give you a special holiday gift you’re going to want to keep on hand all year—our first-ever Taiwan Travel Planner, chock-full of places to go, how to get there, where to stay and things to do on the beautiful and unique island of Taiwan. In the meantime, have a great read.