Based on a combination of Airbnb search, booking and wish list growth data*, here are some of this 2019’s hottest destinations:
Kaikoura, New Zealand
295% YoY increase in bookings
210% YoY increase in searches
Heavily damaged by a 7.8 earthquake in 2016, this coastal town on the South Island is staging a marvellous comeback with the strongest increase in both bookings and searches. With train and other transportation services coming back online, avid whale- and seal-watchers will find it easier and easier to experience the town’s notable sperm whale population and historic whaling past.
283% YoY increase in bookings
A romantic port city surrounded by abundant islands takes the second spot on the list. Xiamen is also home to Kulangsu, a pedestrian-only, vehicle-free island just off the coast that is ideal for local seafood-loving couples. If travelling solo, learn how to bake bread at a local dessert studio or experience nightlife like a local on a pub crawl with host Cong.
Great Smoky Mountains, US
191% YoY increase in bookings
190% YoY increase in searches
Home to America’s most visited national park due to its central location, general ease in getting there, and affordability, the Smokies are calling. Two of the park’s most iconic trails are reopening after a wildfire two years ago. Nature-lovers can also revel in the varied plants and animals in the area as it’s part of UNESCO’s International Biosphere Reserve and be interested to know it’s also home to the biggest black bear population in the eastern U.S. prime surroundings for learning how to take photos with a pro. A year-round destination, the Smoky Mountains also have Pigeon Forge nearby, home to Dollywood, with its annual Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival popular as ever.
229% YoY increase in bookings
120% YoY increase in searches
History buffs may be inclined to witness Normandy’s commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings next year, making it the ideal time for them to visit -- perhaps with historian and host Johann as their guide. Only a two-hour train ride from Paris, locals and travellers can experience the region’s lush landscapes, architectural gems, and Route du Camembert, the trail named after the popular cheese.
Outer Hebrides, Scotland
147% YoY increase in bookings
170% YoY increase in searches
An island chain of many names off the west coast of Scotland, the beautiful but rugged natural splendour of this region may seem reminiscent of the 1995 film depicting a crucial moment in Scotland and England’s history, and the recent unofficial sequel on Netflix. Wildlife really is everywhere: red deer (outnumbering humans 30 to 1!), golden eagles, and in the surrounding waters otters, whales, dolphins and more. Barra Airport is one of the only commercial airports in the world where the planes land on a beach.
Buenos Aires Province, Argentina
188% YoY increase in bookings
176% YoY growth in wishlist inclusion
Not to be confused with the capital city of the same name, the province spans the Atlantic coast with its popular string of beaches and forests, the latter which you can tour in a restored Unimog, and towns like Tigre, characteristic of its Puerto de Frutos, or bustling craft market. Escape to the mountains in the city of Tandil, also named one of our most hospitable cities in the country, measured by the number of super hosts with 5-star reviews, for two years straight.
163% YoY increase in bookings
120% YoY increase in searches
Ghana is emerging as a global African destination and a place for spiritual journeys and self-discovery and has seen a significant influx of international travellers to-date. With Makola Market offering its must-see colourful bazaar and the Labadi and Kokrobite beaches along the Gulf of Guinea boasting an exciting nightlife, there is no shortage of promised stimulation on this part of West Africa’s Atlantic coast.
156% YoY increase in bookings
160% YoY increase in searches
This southern African beach getaway is home to nature galore including coral islands, the mangrove-covered Iso Island, and marine and national parks. The Indian Ocean surrounding the islands is home to 2,000 types of colourful fish prime for watching by scuba diving or snorkelling. Animal lovers can further rejoice in Mozambique’s pink flamingos, Nile crocodiles and dolphins.
Wakayama Prefecture, Japan
128% YoY increase in bookings
This humble region adjacent to Osaka is referred to by some as Japan’s “spiritual heartland” with more and more locals and travellers taking up temporary lodging in the 52 temples on holy Buddhist grounds in Koyasan. Experiences include meditation, temple services, Buddhist gardens and vegetarian cuisine. If open-air baths are more your thing, Sennin-buro in Kawayu is the country’s largest. With fish markets rivalling Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji fish market, you’ll find tuna-cutting shows on daily display with the biggest tuna found in the country.
* Based on internal Airbnb data for bookings made for 2019 as of October 2018 vs. bookings made for 2018 as of October 2017; searches in October - November 2018 vs. October - November 2017; and wish list inclusion in November 2018 vs. November 2017.