The Specialty Travel Agents Association (STAA) presents its top travel picks for 2009.
1. Culinary travel is one of the fastest growing segments in travel. You can ask anyone about their vacation and you are likely to hear about some type of food they enjoyed during their travels. People love to talk about food, but more importantly they love to eat it and even learn about it. This is where the growing demand for travel that includes delicious food and wine itineraries comes in.
Traveling for an authentic culinary experience gives travelers a unique perspective into a destination by experiencing the local cuisine. Culinary options are available worldwide and may include learning about food production, local markets excursions, cooking classes, wine tastings, farm stays and more. All will insure you the opportunity to tempt your senses and delight your palate.
2. Dominican Republic travelers will be tempted by this islands Latin influences, relaxing beaches, and prices that reflect some of the best bargains in the Caribbean. All-inclusive resorts add extra value, so you may just be able to extend your stay and fun.
3. Ecotourism, Sustainable Tourism, and Green Tourism seems to be the buzz lately. People want to feel they are doing their part for the environment, so why not travelers too. Understanding the difference between these three often-confused environmentally friendly forms of tourism can help you select which is right for you next trip.
Ecotourism by definition should conserve the environment and improve the well being of the local people. If it gives back with funding, volunteering and other ways that help with preservation, it is ecotourism.
Sustainable Tourism does not reduce the availability of resources and does not cause a negative effect for future travelers. Traveling and maintaining an ecological balance, without doing harm is the key to sustainable travel.
Green Tourism might encompass any travel activity or establishment that is operating using conservation methods and resources. There are lots of different levels of ‘green’, so determine the level that is important to you and you can feel you are doing your part.
Regardless of which style of eco-friendly tourism you choose. More and more travelers are doing their part to travel ‘green’. It allows an up close and personal way to help with the preservation of our world.
4. Galapagos Islands, one of the most incredible destinations you may ever visit. For the nature lover, it is holds a smorgasbord of wildlife, flora and fauna, and unique island terrain. This will be an amazing and unforgettable experience, but conservation and preservation is essential to minimizing the impact of your travels here. Travel here is encouraged to assist in the efforts to maintain this fragile environment, so go and enjoy.
5. Maldives might be the perfect choice for honeymooners looking for a secluded and romantic escape. Imagine luxury, quiet beaches and overwater bungalows amidst the Indian Ocean and it’s no wonder that these beautiful islands are quickly growing in popularity. Divers may find these islands equally enticing and delight in the thousands of ancient coral islands where they can snorkel and dive.
6. Mexico makes a splendid getaway with its pleasant tropical climate and great selection of all-inclusive resorts. Whether you are cruising the many ports of call, enjoying countless hours on the beach, or exploring ancient ruins, Mexico is a year round destination that will appeal to just about everyone. A good selection of air connections makes Mexico an easy and affordable solution for either a quick getaway or a long vacation.
7. New Zealand makes the list of travel trends for plenty of reasons, but it is mostly the travelers’ high regard of this treasured destination that makes it a favorite. Adventure seekers will find a good variety of activities to keep them going, while the luxury and gourmet travelers will find their own thrills. Be prepared to enter a land of lush and breathtaking scenery, enhanced by its friendly people and Maori culture.
8. Portugal is a vibrant country that’s steeped in history and traditions, but often overlooked as a destination. What this means to you, is a full European experience without the crowds. You’ll enjoy architecture, castles, churches, and monuments that date back over the centuries. Top it off with a picturesque countryside, beautiful beaches, and panoramic vistas and you have a destination that will surpass your expectations.
9. South Africa has major appeal for travelers looking for adventure. Nothing will get your adrenaline pumping like a safari to catch a glimpse of some of the most incredible animals in their natural habitat or exploring the rugged, yet scenic terrain in a 4 x 4. Natural wonders and outdoor activities are not in short supply, so stay as active as you like or slow down and see South Africa from a new prospective. Anyway you see it, South Africa is sure to be extraordinary.
10.Thailand is an amazing destination, known for its diverse landscape and welcoming people. Who can resist the sun drenched beaches, crystal blue waters, and exquisite Thai cuisine? For the big city lover, Bangkok will leave you longing for more. Experience an old world culture in the comfort of a modern and bustling city. With so much to do it may be hard to decide on one area in Thailand, but the best part about visiting, might be the affordable prices. This makes Thailand a great option for those wanting to get the most for their dollar.