We’re a little more than halfway through 2012, and if you haven’t yet booked your annual vacation, what are you waiting for? Several spots around the world are experiencing surges in popularity, thanks to special events and discounts – and one might be the best spot for your next trip.
Consider some of these spots when you’re weighing your vacation options. One might be just the place you had in mind.
There’s no question: the top destination for travelers from all over the world in 2012 will be London, the site of the 2012 Summer Olympics. London has always been a tourism hotspot, thanks to the historic sites and attractions such as the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey as well as innumerable museums, galleries, theatres and shops, but the Olympics have taken interest to a whole new level. Even after the Games are over, expect visitors to continue to flock to the U.K. Other attractions such as the Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour, where visitors can see where the iconic films were made, are bound to attract fans and the curious to the city.
Another major event is drawing visitors to the other side of the Atlantic in 2012 – but this one happened 100 years ago. Thanks to interest in the one hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, visitors are flocking to Nova Scotia to visit the Titanic cemetery, museum and other landmarks associated with the doomed ocean liner. Of course, there is more to the Maritime Provinces than the Titanic. Miles of beaches, as well as outdoor pursuits such as kayaking, hiking, bicycling, and boating draw visitors from all over the world, and the cities of Halifax and Charlottetown are among some of the most affordable in Canada.
When it comes to tropical getaways, the Caribbean Islands tend to get the most attention, but Belize is fast becoming a popular destination for those looking for sun, sand and total relaxation. The suspected evidence of the Mayan prophecy of the world’s demise in 2012 is located in Belize at the ruins of Xunantunich, and throughout the years special events and ceremonies will take place to commemorate the expected event. Beyond doomsday prophecies, though, English-speaking Belize is home to the second largest coral reef in the world, a rainforest jungle, and offers an exceptional exchange rate of almost two-to-one. The affordability of Belize makes it more attractive to travelers to than its neighboring countries, including Mexico, making it a great choice for a tropical escape.
There’s just something about the House of Mouse that people can’t get enough of. Nearly 50 million people from all corners of the world visit the Walt Disney World theme parks in Orlando, Florida every year – that’s nearly 130,000 people spread among the four parks each day. Not to mention, Disney World is the top honeymoon destination in the world. Whether you have kids or you are just a kid at heart, Disney World is a prime vacation destination. The entire resort complex includes more than a dozen hotels and hundreds of restaurants, plus waterparks, arcades, golf courses and enough activities to keep the entire family busy for weeks. 2012 marks the first stages of the opening of the new Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, the largest expansion project the park has ever seen, and families will flock to Disney World to check out the new rides, restaurants and shows.
Half a world away from central Florida, New Zealand is growing in popularity among foreign visitors, in no small part thanks to the popularity of the “The Lord of the Rings” films that were shot here. In 2012, director Peter Jackson has returned to the country to produce the prequel to those films, “The Hobbit.” Fans can take helicopter or boat tours of some of the locations that appeared in the film, but there is much more to Kiwi country than elves and hobbits. New Zealand offers some of the best beaches in the Pacific, as well as plenty of museums, attractions and natural wonders that will delight the whole family.
Keep in mind that with their growing popularity, some of these spots might experience a surge in crowds – and prices – in 2012. Being a part of history, though, might be worth it, and make your 2012 getaway one the best you’ve ever had.