LONDON, UK, 9 January, 2018 – Japan’s Ishigaki is today revealed as the top trending destination in the world for 2018 in the sixth annual Travellers’ Choice awards for Destinations on the Rise announced by TripAdvisor, the site that helps you find the latest reviews and lowest prices.
Ishigaki, an island in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture is home to a varied landscape including sandy beaches, rare coral, mountains and mangrove forests.
Award-winners were determined by using an algorithm that primarily measured the year-over-year increase in positive TripAdvisor traveller ratings for accommodations, restaurants and attractions, and increase in booking interest, across destinations worldwide.
This year there is a good world spread represented among the winners with the top three destinations each located in separate continents – Asia, North America and Africa.
In both the world and Europe lists, Eastern European destinations are clearly piquing travellers’ interest with three of the region’s destinations in the world top 10 and five in Europe’s top 10. Topping the Europe list this year is Gdańsk in Poland, followed by Riga in Latvia and Croatia’s Rovinj in third place. Croatia’s rising popularity shows no signs of slowing with two destinations in the Europe top 10 this year – Rovinj in third and Zagreb in sixth place.
“While this year’s results show a broad spread of the world represented, with winners located in five different continents, it’s Eastern Europe which is dominating as a 2018 hotspot. For UK travellers this is great news – with Eastern Europe so close it’s easy to pop over for a weekend trip at pretty low cost. For example, you can book a hotel in Gdańsk for an average of £47, and a round trip airfare will set you back as little as £116,” commented Hayley Coleman, TripAdvisor spokesperson.
Travellers' Choice Destinations on the Rise — World:
Ishigaki in Japanese, means “stone wall”. Contrary to its name, Ishigaki is an island in Okinawa and is therefore surrounded by water. Home to sandy beaches and coral reefs, the destination is a popular diving spot. Also great for food lovers, Ishigaki is known for its soba noodles - called Yaeyama soba - made of flour instead of the more traditional buckwheat.
Travellers find this small town, nestled at the base of Nounou (the Sleeping Giant) Mountain on Kauai, tourist friendly with its diverse array of hotels, shopping centres and restaurants. The Kinipopo Shopping Village is a favourite among visitors for its fun eateries and small keepsake shops. Fans of water sports will have plenty to do with options for kayaking and water skiing.
Known as the safari capital of Africa, Nairobi is an energetic, modern city that serves as a fascinating introduction to both wildlife and nightlife. Music clubs pulse with life, shops and markets bustle, and a mélange of restaurants will tempt your palate in this former Maasai watering hole. Top sights include the Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Centre and the black rhinos of Nairobi National Park.
Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, is a port city known for its maritime history. These days it is also well known for its arts, theatre and culinary scene as well as a strong craft brewing culture. The city famously has more pubs and clubs per capita than almost any city in Canada.
Known as one of Poland’s most beautiful cities, Gdańsk is a port city located on the Baltic coast. Long Market at the centre of the city is one of the main tourist attractions with its colourful facades and home to shops and restaurants. Interestingly, Gdańsk is a hub for the world’s amber trade. Boutiques throughout the city sell it, making Gdańsk the ideal destination for those who have a particular fondness for the precious fossilized resin.
San Jose, Costa Rica’s Capital, is packed with Victorian mansions, some of which have been converted to contemporary art galleries. Barrio Escalante, is the city's gastronomic hub, ideal for foodies. Try freshly roasted local beans at Mercado Central. The city has a vibrant nightlife which can be found concentrated in Spanish village-inspired El Pueblo.
7. Riga, Latvia
The Latvian capital and the largest city in the Baltics, Riga is a fascinating mixture of proud Latvian tradition and influences from various neighbouring countries. Riga's Art Nouveau centre has won UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. The Old City has an abundance of bars and restaurants and can easily be explored on foot while the New Town is easily reached by an efficient and modern bus and tram network.
Rovinj is a Croatian fishing port on the west coast of the Istrian peninsula. The old town, a beautiful tangle of steep cobbled streets and piazzas, sits on a cliff face, with houses packed closely together right down to the seafront. Located south of the old town is Lone Bay, one of the area’s pebble beaches. The 14 islands of the Rovinj archipelago set just off the mainland are perfect for an afternoon of exploration.
9. Nerja, Spain
The resort of Nerja is nestled along southern Spain's Costa del Sol. Its seafront promenade, Balcón de Europa offers stunning views of the Mediterranean and surrounding mountain and below it, travellers can find sandy beaches and cliffside coves. One popular attraction at the seaside town is Cueva de Nerja, a cave which boasts unusual stalactites and stalagmites, also known for its Palaeolithic paintings.
Casablanca is a port city and the commercial hub of western Morocco. Fans of architecture will be in heaven at the sight of the mix of Moorish style and European art deco buildings. The city is also home to Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in Morocco. The city also has a thriving art and culture scene – many of Casablanca’s historic Art Deco villas have been reborn as galleries and museums.
Travellers’ Choice Destinations on the Rise – Europe:
2. Riga, Latvia
4. Nerja, Spain
8. Cádiz, Spain
For the complete list of Travellers' Choice Destinations on the Rise award-winners for 2018, as well as reviews and candid traveller photos, visit: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/TravelersChoice-DestinationsOnTheRise.
Destinations determined by year-over-year increase in positive TripAdvisor traveller review ratings for accommodations, restaurants and attractions, and increase in search and booking interest from October 2016 to October 2017.
Average annual city hotel prices based on TripAdvisor hotel price comparison data from 1/1/17 - 11/30/17.
Highly-rated value hotels have at least four, out of five bubbles on TripAdvisor and have a nightly rate that costs less than the city annual average for a two week period in June, from 06/10/18 – 06/24/18.
Lowest flight prices found based on a TripAdvisor search of hundreds of sites on 12/26/17 for round-trip fares for the next 12 months from popular UK airport hubs (LCY, LGW, LHR) to the closest major airport to each destination.
Lowest flight prices found based on a TripAdvisor search of hundreds of sites on 1/8/18 for round-trip fares for the next 12 months from UK airport hubs LCY, LGW, LHR to the closest major airport to Ishigaki, Japan; Nairobi, Kenya; Halifax, Canada; San Jose, Costa Rica; Casablanca, Morocco.
TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel site**, enables travellers to unleash the full potential of every trip. With over 570 million reviews and opinions covering the world's largest selection of travel listings worldwide -- covering 7.3 million accommodations, airlines, attractions, and restaurants -- TripAdvisor provides travellers with the wisdom of the crowds to help them decide where to stay, how to fly, what to do and where to eat. TripAdvisor also compares prices from more than 200 hotel booking sites so travellers can find the lowest price on the hotel that's right for them. TripAdvisor-branded sites are available in 49 markets, and are home to the world's largest travel community of 455 million average monthly unique visitors*, all looking to get the most out of every trip. TripAdvisor: Know better. Book better. Go better.
The subsidiaries and affiliates of TripAdvisor, Inc. (NASDAQ:TRIP) own and operate a portfolio of websites under 20 other travel media brands: www.airfarewatchdog.com, www.bookingbuddy.com, www.citymaps.com, www.cruisecritic.com, www.familyvacationcritic.com, www.flipkey.com, www.thefork.com (including www.lafourchette.com, www.eltenedor.com, www.iens.nl and www.dimmi.com.au), www.gateguru.com, www.holidaylettings.co.uk, www.holidaywatchdog.com, www.housetrip.com, www.jetsetter.com, www.niumba.com, www.onetime.com, www.oyster.com, www.seatguru.com, www.smartertravel.com, www.tingo.com, www.vacationhomerentals.com and www.viator.com.
*Source: TripAdvisor log files, average monthly unique visitors, Q3 2017
**Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, July 2017