2019 looks to be an exciting year ahead with new flight routes, hotel openings and international sporting events. We asked travel industry experts from Preferred Hotels and Resorts globally for their insights.
Top Pick #1: New York, U.S.A.
Rick Stiffler, Vice President, Leisure Sales & Founder of Preferred Pride:
In June 2019, WorldPride will be held in New York City to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. We expect to welcome more than 2 million international visitors to the city to join the celebrations in the birthplace of the movement. This momentous occasion will be the largest Pride celebration in the world with over 50 events held over the month, from live music performances and LGBTQ+ film screenings to parades and street fairs. Many of our hotels in the city participate in Preferred Pride including NOMO SOHO, The Mark, and The Redbury. When guests book through Preferred Pride, they enjoy preferential rates, on-property extras or complimentary amenities.
Top Pick #2: Japan
Kaori Yamaguchi, Managing Director for Japan:
Rugby fans, myself included, are counting down the days until the 9th Rugby World Cup takes place in Japan from September 20 to November 2, 2019. Held every four years since 1987, Japan will be the first Asian country to host this major sporting event, and 48 matches will be played in 12 venues across the country. This is an exciting opportunity for Japan to get on the map as an international sporting destination and, in turn, appeal to a new demographic of travellers. The Capitol Hotel Tokyu and New Otani Tokyo Executive House Zen, each offering exceptional onsite and local experiences, look forward to welcoming visitors from around the world next fall.
Top Pick #3: Singapore
Josephine Lim, Manager Director for South East Asia:
2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of modern Singapore and the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles. In honour of the nation’s bicentennial milestone, the city will host a series of special exhibitions and events throughout the year including an official launch ceremony to be held in January, a new experiential showcase tracing Singapore’s history at the Fort Canning Centre, and a themed celebration during the National Day Parade in August. The roster of events will tempt visitors to immerse themselves in Singapore’s rich history, both before and after Raffles’ arrival in 1819. Recognised as Singapore’s 71st National Monument, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, is the perfect choice for a stay during the celebrations.
Top Pick #4: Argentina
Rodrigo Tsutsumi, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean:
Astro-tourism has started to boom in recent years, and the 2017 ‘Great American Eclipse’ was reported to be the most watched eclipse in history. Next on the eclipse agenda is the much-anticipated ‘Great South American Eclipse’ taking place on July 2, 2019. Stargazers and astrology fans who head to Argentina via Buenos Aires to witness this natural phenomenon, scheduled to last for approximately four minutes, can stay at CasaSur Bellini Hotel, Hotel Club Francés Buenos Aires, and NH Collection Buenos Aires Jousten - three distinct Preferred Hotels & Resorts properties that serve as an excellent starting point for travelers on their eclipse pilgrimage, whether they plan to stay put in the capital or head west to see the totality of the eclipse in Junín.
Top Pick #5: Budapest, Hungary
Christopher Cox, Regional Director for Central & Eastern Europe:
Budapest is an established and much-loved European city-break destination and travel to the city will be made even easier from the UK with the February 2019 launch of two new daily flights from London’s City Airport with LOT Polish Airlines. One of the newest members of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Mystery Hotel Budapest, will be opening its doors in November 2018, just in time for the New Year and the new flights. Centrally located, the 82-bedroom palatial hotel was originally built by the Hungarian Freemasons and is shrouded with legends, magic, and optical illusions including flying carpets and secret rooms. Mystery Hotel Budapest boasts a baroque-style Secret Garden Spa complete with Finnish sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi, an exquisite restaurant entitled “The Great Hall,” as well as a roof terrace with impressive views across the city.
Top Pick #6: Beijing, China
Blaise Jing, Regional Director for China:
Beijing’s new Daxing International Airport is scheduled to open in fall 2019 as the largest airport in the world with eight runways serving 100 million passengers annually, making Beijing and other key destinations in China more accessible than ever. In addition to a host of new international flight routes that will launch to and from the city during the latter half of 2019 and throughout 2020, the airport will make travelling to China even easier, especially with a new visa policy inviting travellers from 53 countries to visit for a six-day trip – visa-free. Travelers staying at any of Preferred Hotels & Resorts five hotels in Beijing – which includes East Beijing, The Opposite House, and Wanda Vista Beijing – can enjoy a wealth of attractions including historical gems such as the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and modern attractions such as the Olympic Park and the 798 Art District.
Top Pick #7: Matera, Italy
Roberta Possenti, Managing Director for Southern Europe:
Matera, in the southern Italian region of Basilicata, is now firmly placed on the map for cultivated travellers after being awarded the accolade of 2019 European Capital of Culture. Matera is an ancient city steeped in history that is currently enjoying a remarkable tourist boom with highlights that include the UNESCO World Heritage Site Sassi, cave dwellings and rock churches that date back over 7,000 years. Having remained relatively unknown for many years, the city makes visitors feel as though they are the first to discover this magical town. This hidden gem should be high up on any bucket list, and the newly opened Kalidria Hotel & Thalasso Spa, located near the coast just a 45-minute drive from Matera, is a tranquil base from which to explore the area.
Top Pick #8: Virginia, United States
John Enright, Regional Director for the U.S. and Central America:
Throughout 2019, the state of Virginia will host a number of events and educational programs to commemorate the 400th anniversary of a series of historical occurrences that have ultimately shaped the United States. Among the events that made 1619 an especially pivotal year in U.S. history were the establishment of the first permanent English colony on North American soil, the first representative assembly in the New World, and the first official Thanksgiving in North America. To be fully immersed in Virginia’s rich history, visitors can stay at one of our iconic hotels in the Richmond area including The Jefferson Hotel, The Commonwealth, or Salamander Resort & Spa and experience the Virginia History Trail with visits to the state’s many museums and historical houses.
Top Pick #9: Oslo, Norway
Brenda Collin, Managing Director for UK, Ireland, Nordics, Netherlands:
Oslo is fast becoming Scandinavia’s hottest city break destination, and the Norwegian capital has been named the European Green Capital 2019 thanks to its ongoing commitment to preserving its stunning natural forests and tranquil waterways. Travellers looking for a balance between city life and nature can stay at the new Amerikalinjen, set to launch in March 2019. Set within the city’s landmark Norwegian American Line building in the heart of one of Oslo’s most vibrant and artistic districts, Jernbanetorget, this contemporary, 122-room boutique hotel and urban sanctuary will marry the local passion for maritime travel combined with the city’s history to create a strong foundation for the building's renaissance.
Top Pick #10: Turkey
Nicolas Villemin, Regional Director for the Middle East & North Africa
Tourism to Turkey is booming, and hotels from the capital to the coast are seeing a resurgence in guest bookings, a trend we expect to continue throughout 2019. The country’s political and economic climate has stabilised, and the ‘Turkish Riviera’ on the Bodrum Peninsula is experiencing a flourish of new hotel openings and leisure developments that will help to further showcase the area’s beautiful beaches, world-class restaurants, and historical sites such as Castle of St Peter, Bodrum Antique Theatre, and the Mausoleum. Allium Villas Resorts, a family-friendly boutique property overlooking the Aegean Sea offering a chic coastal break, and The Bodrum by Paramount Hotels & Resorts, an ultra-glamorous resort perfect for romantic couples’ getaways