New York.
New York. Jay Cronan

Top 10 spots to visit in 2012

TRAVELLERS with a keen eye for emerging destinations should check out Flight Centre Limited's top 10 spots to visit in 2012.

The list was created by the team at Flight Centre, according to three factors: what the company believes to be emerging hotspots, what its customers are enquiring about and what the travel industry is offering next year.
1. Honolulu, Hawaii

Hawaii is making a comeback faster than you can pack a floral shirt. Aussies are taking advantage of cheap flights and even thinking of the US Island state as a stopover destination to connect to mainland destinations such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Honolulu is going to be even more accessible from mid-December when Air Australia begins services from Brisbane and Melbourne, twice weekly, and Hawaiian Airlines increases its schedule to offer daily year-round flights from Sydney.

Other airlines flying the increasingly competitive Australia to US route include Qantas, V Australia and Jetstar, as well as United Airlines, Hawaiian and Delta Airlines.

2. London, United Kingdom

Flights to London are filling fast and hotels have already put up full-house signs, claiming they are booked out for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, from July 27 to September 9.

Travellers who usually head to the UK during the summer months may choose to holiday either side of the Olympics next year to skip the crowds associated with the Olympics. This will create an increased demand across the mid-year, from May to October.

The tip is to book your flights as soon as possible because cheap fares will sell quickly. 

3. Hoi An, Vietnam

Vietnam is being talked about in travel circles at the moment, as the next Thailand or Bali. If you are keen to laze around and sip cocktails on beautiful beaches, but also want to get active Hoi An offers plenty to keep tourists occupied.

Hoi An ranks among the top beaches in Vietnam and has a warm climate year round. While the city has become more popular over recent years, it still retains its small town atmosphere.

4. New York, United States

It seems that Aussies just can't get enough of the Big Apple. Recently, there has been an increasingly strong interest from travellers for self-contained apartments when they holiday in NYC. 

The trend has prompted suppliers to offer more holiday rentals in the heart of the city, as we move into 2012. 

5. Amalfi Coast, Italy

Summer and spring holidays in Italy are as popular as ever, but more people are getting outdoors on walk and sail or bike and barge vacations. These new boat-based journeys by UTracks are being introduced to coastal regions of Italy including the Amalfi Coast.

A relaxed itinerary allows you to explore more of the charming countryside and iconic landscapes from Pompeii to the rugged island of Capri and the vantage points at Positano or Sorrento.

6. Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

Tourism is definitely growing to Sri Lanka, as more people learn of its unspoilt beaches, tea plantations, bird sanctuaries and UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Surfers have been flocking to Arugam Bay for years, between April and October, but it won't be long before everyone else catches on.

The laid-back beach strip has built a reputation for having the best surfing waves in Sri Lanka, yet hasn't been tarnished by over-population.

7. Tasmania, Australia

According to Tourism Tasmania, around 310,000 Aussies visit Tasmania each year. Believe it or not, it's more than the number of people going to Fiji.

Tassie really does offer a mixed bag of highlights to suit just about any traveller, from its incredible wilderness experiences and coastal landscapes to its gourmet food and wine produce.

Nature lovers can map out the walking trails of many national parks, while the foodies will love cheese tastings at the dairy farm and wine sampling at cellar doors. 

8. Copenhagen, Denmark

Princess Mary's visit to Australia at the end of this year has people speaking about Denmark.

Copenhagen has been dubbed one of Europe's coolest green cities and the Danes are known as the world's happiest people.

The capital city is deemed a world leader in clean technology, with its leaders having pioneered eco-initiatives, such as financial incentives to recycle plastic bottles to keep the city clean.

Cutting edge architecture, civilised bicycle lanes, green forests, fashionable eco brands and organic cafes make it a city worth checking out.

9. Zadar, Croatia

If you want to enjoy Croatia's Dalmatian Coast without the tourist hordes, inflated prices and tacky souvenirs, check out the walled port city of Zadar.

Zadar's architectural heritage features an assortment of pre-Romanesque churches, Romanesque cathedrals, Venetian fortifications and Renaissance monuments.

Tuck into tasty Dalmatian cuisine at unpretentious restaurants serving authentic, homely dishes and pull up a seat at one of the many open-air cafes for a dose of people-watching at its best.

10. Close-to-home cruises

For the first time, Australia will offer a five-star cruise ship from its home ports.

The Celebrity Solstice will cover close to home itineraries such as the South Pacific and New Zealand. This means that Aussies now have a greater choice of cruises to suit every age and budget, right here in Australia. 

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