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ATAS ACCREDITED AGENTS reveal their top travel tips for 2020

January 13, 2020

Did someone say '2020'?

Are you also wondering how on earth that happened so fast? That felt to us like a particularly quick lap around the Sun.

Pexels: Abhiram Prakash

Pexels: Abhiram Prakash

As the fog of the festive season and new year celebrations lifts, are you looking at what 2020 might bring in terms of travel and your precious holidays?

Every year travel 'hot' lists are published predicting the next big thing or trends in travel, and we thought we'd produce our own. So we asked some ATAS accredited travel professionals for their thoughts on what and where might take off in 2020.

Here's what they told us. Mat McLachlan, a NSW-based travel agent from ATAS accredited Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours is, as you might expect, an expert on the increasingly popular battlefields tourism market—think: tours to the Second World War battlefields of the Western Front or Normandy, for example.

This year, Mat sees a perennial favourite destination continuing to draw Australian travellers, and one much closer to home coming into focus.

Anzac Cove at Gallipoli. Image supplied by Mat McLachlan.Anzac Cove at Gallipoli. Image supplied by Mat McLachlan.

"In 2020, Gallipoli is looking to be a popular destination for Australian travellers—particularly for Anzac Day commemorations. To walk in the footsteps of the Anzacs on battlefields anywhere in the world is an experience you will never forget, but a visit to Gallipoli, in particular, is on the bucket lists of many Australians," says Mat.

"Elsewhere, we're seeing a lot of interest in Papua New Guinea, with our inaugural WW2 History Cruise to Papua New Guinea proving incredibly popular, alongside our Kokoda Tours (both trekking and non-trekking) which are enjoying increasing demand," he adds.

Set sail on the inaugural WW2 History Cruise to Papua New Guinea. Credit: Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours.Set sail on the inaugural WW2 History Cruise to Papua New Guinea. Credit: Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours.

What's driving this demand?

"Papua New Guinea brings to life incredible stories of Australia’s incredible involvement in World War Two, with key sites including the ports of Milne Bay and Rabaul (the sites of turning-point battles during the Pacific War), as well as the Kokoda Track," he says. "And with 2019-2025 marking the 80th anniversary of the Second World War, we expect demand for tours to Pacific War battlefields to grow, as well as to WW2 battlefields across Europe," he concludes.

For Expedition Consultant, Denise Houlihan from ATAS accredited travel agency in VictoriaNo Roads Expeditions, 2020 will be big somewhere she describes as "a destination with intoxicating smells and spices, bustling souks, and incredible trekking." That's right—Denise has identified 2020 as the year to visit Morocco.

"From the vibrant ancient city of Marrakech through to the Atlas Mountains, Morocco is a pleasing assault on all of your senses," she says. In recent years, Denise has seen an interesting trend that's driving interest in destinations like Morocco.

Marrakesh, Morocco. Credit: Shutterstock
Marrakesh, Morocco. Credit: Shutterstock

"People are no longer travelling just to get some sun and sand and drink cocktails by the pool. There has been an evolution towards experiencing—really experiencing—cultures and seeing parts of a country where you aren’t surrounded by throngs of other tourists," she notes. Denise's personal Morocco experiences describe this perfectly.

"When you trek through Berber villages in the middle of a dry desert landscape, and villages emerge that are in lush green valley on the shores of small streams and rivers, you will feel like you have discovered something truly special," says Denise. One piece of advice she offers Australians seeking new trekking experiences, is that Morocco's Atlas Mountains won’t stay a 'secret' for long once word gets out about the exceptional trekking opportunities.

Morocco’s dramatic Atlas Mountains. Credit: Denise Houlihan.
Morocco’s dramatic Atlas Mountains. Credit: Denise Houlihan.

Emma Sullivan, Travel Advisor at ATAS accredited Weston Cruise & Travel, a travel agency based in the ACT, has cooler climes in mind when she names her top destination for 2020.
"Scandinavia is so hot right now," quips Emma.

"In particular, cruising along the Norwegian coast line and across to remarkable fire-and-ice offerings of Iceland," she adds. What is about Scandinavia that's driving its popularity? "Scandinavia has an irresistible mix of delicious food, fascinating ancient and contemporary culture, gorgeous natural scenery, and experiences for just about any type of traveller.

Our outdoorsy, adventure-seeking clients love the wide range of guided walking and hiking tours available; it's seriously popular with our cruise clients; and our independent travellers love unique experiences like Norway's remarkable Flåm Railway—one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world," she says.

Reykjavik. Credit: Royal Caribbean Cruises.
Reykjavik. Credit: Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Much closer to home, Carissa Johnson—Manager of ATAS accredited Spencer Travel Southside, a travel agency based in Sydney—flags Fiji as one to watch in 2020.

"With some fabulous new resorts and renovated old favourites, Fiji is the perfect place to de-stress, recharge and reconnect with your loved ones," says Carissa.
"The wonderfully warm hospitality of the Fijian people, quality food and value-for-money make Fiji the go-to choice for Aussies in 2020," she adds. And it's not just the traditional couples-and-family markets that'll be flocking to Fiji this year.

"In recent years, Fiji has developed brilliant offerings for large, multi-generational family groups, or groups travelling to celebrate a milestone birthday or a wedding. With the incredible choice of resorts, you are sure to find something to tick off every item on your group holiday wish-list and keep everyone happy!", advises Carissa.

Across town at Sydney-based sister-business, Spencer Travel Eastside, the experienced team sees more clients upgrading their cruise experience from mid-range cruise lines to luxury lines, and Japan coming into focus for the cruise set.

As Lucy Vieira sees it, “A number of new luxury ocean ships are scheduled to launch in the next couple of years. Ships like Seabourn Venture (2021), Silversea Moon (2020), Seven Seas Splendor (2020) and Crystal Endeavour (2020) will generate a lot of interest in the luxury cruise market.”

And destinations? The team points to places poles apart, suggesting that Antarctica and Iceland will be more popular than ever with all the new explorer ships entering the market. More broadly, like Carissa noted, they also expect to see more and more families travelling in multi-generational groups—a trend that’s gained popularity in recent years.

Whether you're planning a quick weekend away with your nearest and dearest, or a multi-generational special occasion chat to your favourite ATAS-accredited travel professional - experience you can trust. Need help packing? Download our handy travel checklists here.

Looking for more insights from ATAS-accredited travel agents? Try these on for size: ATAS Accredited Agents share their best trips of 2019; Family holidays that won't send you (or the kids) around the bend; and The world of festivals in 2020.

Categories - Leisure Travel Small Group & Bespoke Travel

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