What a year 2018 was and the places we traveled. There were so many amazing places to see, cultures to experience and cities to visit, that getting them all in was a challenge. Some cities around the world just have a flavor for inviting tourists and showing them an amazing time, and year after year, they end up on some of the best tourism lists and are loved by the people that travel there. But that was last year, and 2019 is here and our bags are still packed and ready to go on the next adventure, only this time, 2019 has some different locations to offer that are a little different than where we went in 2018.
In this list, travelers will find the hot spots in 2018. The places that everyone went to, the places we enjoyed and the places that made a name for themselves as a tourist champion in 2018. Heading into 2019, however, we want to know where we should be going instead, what is up and coming, or what is a hidden gem that not many people have found just yet. The great thing about travel is, there is always time to do so and always a place to go. But if you want to narrow down where to go in the future, or see where you should have already been, then check out this list and pack your bags for 2019!
30 2018: Bangkok, Thailand
The capital of Thailand saw the most international visitors in 2018, according to Business Insider, as over 21.98 million people visited the city that is constantly being named one of the best cities in the world. Bangkok was also been named "World's Best City" by Travel + Leisure magazine's survey of its readers for four consecutive years since 2010, and with sites such as the Grand Palace, the Wat Phra Kaew, the Wat Arun and of course, all the beaches in the Bay of Thailand, it was a must go to in 2018.
29 2019: Barcelona, Spain
Some people call Barcelona the Miami of Spain. It is one of the world's leading tourist destinations in the world. According to the U.S. census bureau, Barcelona made $170 billion in tourist attractions thus far, making it Europe’s third and one of the world most successful city as a whole. Although Barcelona is famous for its sunshine and beaches it's also known for the historical buildings surrounding the city such as the historical monuments, which are included on the World Heritage Site list. Between the sun and all that the city has to offer, no wonder Barcelona is a must go to city in 2019.
28 2018: London, UK
The largest city in the United Kingdom saw over 20.42 million international visitors in 2018, according to Business Insider, which should come as no surprise for one of the world’s most desirable tourist spots. With palaces, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and plenty of other tourist spots in the capital of England, London continues to be one of the most visited places in all of Europe. According to Mastercard, London is also one of the top cross-border spending places in the world, and the tourism industry employs over 350,000 people.
27 2019: Anguilla, Caribbean
This paradise island is thus far the most beautiful that you can possibly go and see in 2019. East of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Anguilla is the primary island to the Leeward Islands. According to the Conservation of Caribbean Islands, Anguilla is a flat, low-lying island that is filled with coral and limestone. This beautiful country is also known for its coral reefs and beaches. Therefore, if you are looking to catch some sun and hang out with some fish, this is the place to come.
26 2018: Paris, France
Of course, Paris, France is on the list of most visited places in 2018, as the city of lights generally finds itself on the list every year. According to Business Insider, Paris saw 17.95 international visitors in 2018, as people came for some of the most well-known attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Notre Dame, and of course, tons of shopping. According to Airbnb, Paris has the largest market in the world for sharing homes and apartments, so if it is on your list in 2019 because you didn’t go in 2018, check out that service to save money on accommodations.
25 2019: Disney, Orlando, Florida, United States
It is no secret that our beloved Mickey Mouse is turning the big 90 this year and why not celebrate it in style with a Star Wars theme park. The theme park will be located in Orlando, Florida and according to the New York Times, the growth rate will rise at an approximately $4.6 billion in 2019 because of the new addition. So why not save those pretty pennies, pack your patients to enjoy and party with our beloved Mickey mouse in 2019.
24 2018: Dubai, UAE
For those who love to shop in 2018, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates was more than likely the place you went. According to Business Insider, 16.66 million international visitors visited Dubai in 2018, doing so by luring people in with their amazing shopping experiences. Dubai has been a growing city over the past decade, with some of the largest buildings in the world, include the largest one, the Burj Khalifa, and some of the world’s fanciest hotels, such as the Burj Al Arab, which is sometimes described as the world’s only seven-star hotel.
23 2019: Kenya
In 2019, why not take a trip down to Kenya to squeeze in a safari tour. You can hang out with Zebras and possibly get a glimpse of lions running across a field to catch their next meal. There is no denying that this is by far the best experience you may get this upcoming year. According to the Kenya Tourism Board, tourism is the second largest source of foreign exchange revenue following their agriculture exchange. Kenya saw a jump in the number of tourists as they mainly came from Germany and the United Kingdom.
22 2018: Singapore
Singapore went from a third-world country to a first-world country in one generation and is now one of the most visited places in the world, and it was heavily visited in 2018, when over 14.47 million international travellers visited, according to Business Insider. It has one of the world’s lowest crime rates, which helps greatly in attracting tourist and making them feel safe. Plus, English is the main language used out of the four primary languages, so it’s a chance for tourists to come to an Asian country and still get by without having to know a different language.
21 2019: Placencia, Belize
This small village located in the Stann Creek district in Belize is a must go see in 2019. Placencia is a fishing village that often draws tourist amusement to such places as bars and water excursions. According to the Placencia Tourism Centre, the main attraction to this small village is shark watching during the full moon that runs between April and July. During Easter weekend, Placencia hosts a large lobster festival and draws thousands to the island and generated $50,000 US each year.
20 2018: New York City
The Big Apple is still the most visited city in the United States by international travellers, as according to the Business Insider, 13.67 million people visited the largest city in the United States in 2018. With the biggest part of the year in Times Square helping to kick off the New Year right, it’s a great way for New York to boost their numbers early, but New York doesn’t need much help with every tourist attraction that they have, such as the Statue of Liberty, Broadway, and the World Trade Center.
19 2019: Bhutan
When you look at this picture, your first thing that comes to mind is peace. The region of Bhutan is by far the most beautiful place on earth to visit. According to the Digital Himalayan, since 1992, Bhutan increased the number of tourists visiting the peaceful country and their total of economic growth risen to $2 million annually. Some of the things that tourist find fascinating are the ancient ruins that have been kept restored for hundreds of years and the exotic animals that cross their way. In 2019, Bhutan is certainly a go-to place if you are seeking inner peace.
18 2018: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The national capital of Malaysia saw 13.54 million international tourists in 2018, according to Business Insider, as it has become a hotbed for tourists with the cities growth. With low costs and a high service-driver economy, Kuala Lumpur is made for tourists to come and enjoy the many sites, including Petronas Twin Towers, the tallest twin towers in the world. The city also could handle all the shopping needs in 2018, as it has over 66 shopping malls, and it is considered the fashion hub of Asia.
17 2019: The Azores
The Azores islands are just one of many natural beauties that Portugal has to offer. The Portuguese islands have certainly been popular in 2018, but travel experts say that the Azores is a must go to in 2019. The island is composed of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean and according to a report done by the Portugal government, Azores saw 260,000 tourists exploring the islands. Main attractions that the islands have to offer are their twin lakes (Sete Cidades) and their hot volcanic springs that the locals use to cook food. Therefore, if you are looking to be adventurous this is the right place to explore in 2019.
16 2018: Istanbul, Turkey
The most populated city in Turkey, Istanbul, was a heavily visited city in 2018, with over 12.8 million international travellers, according to Business Insider. It’s been named Europe’s Capital of Culture, and part of that is due to the cities two main cultural attractions, Topkapı Palace Museum and the Hagia Sophia, which bring in $30 million in revenue each year, according to Turkey Tourism Market report. With the city also divided the Bosporus strait, the city is located on both the European and Asian continents.
15 2019: Botswana
Sitting just south of the African continent, Botswana is home to thousands of African elephants. So no wonder this hot spot is a must go see in 2019. Adopting its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth over 52 years ago, Botswana maintains its stability as a democratic country. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, since its independence, Botswana has become one of the world`s fastest-growing economies, mainly dominated by mining, cattle and tourism. Botswana saw roughly 70,000 visitors each year since they gained their independence.
14 2018: Tokyo, Japan
The largest city in the world and the capital of Japan was one of the hottest tourism stops in 2018. According to Business Insider, 12.12 million international travellers went to Tokyo last year to experience a rich culture of the metropolis city. Japanese pop culture has brought people to the capital and of course, all the shopping in the downtown district. According to the local government, the value of their tourism industry is $9.4 trillion yen, but despite the large numbers of tourist, Tokyo doesn’t have any world heritage sites.
13 2019: Mexico City
This city is known for their hospitality and kindness but more importantly their patriotism to their country. Mexico City is not only the capital to Mexico but the most populated city in North America. According to the 2008 Global cities index, they are one of the most important cultural and financial centres in the Americas. They are a large city with so much to offer to the tourists that are just passing through. Last year alone the country brought in 8.6 million tourists to the city with their street festivals and guided tours, no wonder this place is a hot spot to travel in 2019.
12 2018: Seoul, South Korea
Seoul, South Korea found its way onto the most visited places in 2018 list, most likely because of the Winter Olympics that were held in 2018 in South Korea. With Seoul being the capital of the small nation, people would have had to have gone through it to get to PyeongChang. According to Business Insider, 10.13 million people visited Seoul in 2018, but it’s been a regular on top lists for most people visiting, as in 2014, it was the ninth most visited city and four largest earners in tourism, according to MasterCard.
11 2019: Iceland
Between the blue lagoon and scenic view, no wonder it is called the land of the healing. Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic with a small population of 348,000. Although Iceland is a small country, it is best known for their blue lagoon that is filled with minerals, which has the power to heal your skin. So if you ever want that mineral facial, this is certainly the place to go. According to the Geology of Iceland, Iceland is also home to an active volcano called Geysir, which is located in Haukadalur, Iceland. For those who are adventurous, this is the place for you in 2019.
10 2018: Rome, Italy
Rome is what you would expect to come up on any top visited places, as the history and culture of the Italian capital make it a must see every year. In 2018, 9.7 million people visited Rome, according to CNN, and checked out the many sites around the historic city, including the Vatican, the Colosseum, and the Pantheon. The first two see 4.2 million and four million tourists a year, making them one of the most visited tourist spots in the world. With so much history and old architecture, there was no reason to leave Rome off your 2018 travel list.
9 2019: Havana, Cuba
Take yourself back in time with old Cadillac’s and latin feel. No wonder Havana, Cuba is a trip worth taking in 2019. With a population of 2.1 million people, this multi-cultural city is the largest city by far in Cuba. According to the official Census of Havana, the city attracts over a million tourist annually. The city is very popular for their health tourism destination, in which they provide a wide range of treatments including eye-surgery, neurological, multiple sclerosis and much more. Whether or not you are coming here for the culture or just the sun, Havana is worth coming to.
8 2018: Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Palma de Mallorca, Spain has one of the busiest airports in Europe, with over 29 million people coming through each year. As far as international travellers, it ranks as one of the highest, with 9.3 million travellers coming to enjoy the city, according to Business Insider. The city has been transformed into a tourist destination, as more than half the population works in the tourism industry. Consider Palma de Mallorca is on a small island just off the coast of Spain, located in the Bay of Palma, it has some of the best beaches in all of Europe.
7 2019: Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena is a real historical city that not only did some minor upgrades but kept its city roots. Seeing the colonial buildings from miles away from the Caribbean coastline, which plays an important role in their tourism industry. As Cartagena relies so much of their economy on tourism, they have many attractions to offer around the city. According to Colombia’s Ministry of Commerce, the city brought in $5.8 billion in 2018 which is an increase over the previous year of $4.8 billion. So with that being said, you will for sure have a good time exploring what Cartagena has to offer.
6 2018: Bali, Indonesia
Bali has really turned into one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world, as according to Business Insider, they saw 8.43 million international travellers in 2018. The island’s south side is mainly where tourists go and enjoy the beaches and all the culture the island has to offer. With a cheap exchange rate on their currency, it has been a growing favorite spot for tourists, who get more for their dollar when going to Bali, but just be sure to book ahead, because during peak seasons, Travel + Leisure has reported that rooms can be booked up solid due to the massive influx of tourists.
5 2019: Baha Mar, Bahamas
Baha Mar is the second largest city in the Bahamas beside Nassau. Baha Mar sits on the coastline of the Bahamas with great resorts and amazing sandy beaches. This is the place for you if you are looking for an enjoyable but relax vacation to a beach in 2019. According to the New York Times, this 1,000-acre resort complex on the new providence island includes three hotels, a casino and a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. Everything you could want in a 2019 vacation.
4 2018: Prague, Czech Republic
One of the most beautiful countries in all of Europe finally started to see the love it deserved in 2018, as Prague saw over nine million tourists in 2018, according to CNN. The capital of Czech Republic has become one of the world’s most popular tourists destinations, as it has a rich history and a low cost of living, which makes it a perfect spot for those looking for a great vacation but not looking to spend a lot of money. Prague Castle, which is the oldest ancient castle the world, and Old Town Square are just two of the main sites people see in Prague.
3 2019: Poland
Poland has so much to offer for every visitor in 2019. This beautiful country is located in Central Europe. It is the sixth most populated member state in the European Union. Since joining the union, Poland tourism contribution really makes up most of the country's revenue. So if you are looking for something to do in Poland, it will not disappoint with their outdoor activities, mountain biking and the underwater aquarium. Poland is also a historical city with many historical monuments. So take it from me, you will not get bored but you will appreciate all the things to do in this country.
2 2018: Hong Kong
Hong Kong saw a lot of people again in 2018, as according to Business Insider, 9.11 million international travellers visited Hong Kong, which just makes up a fraction of the tourism industry, as CNN reported that over 29 million travelled there in 2018. Hong Kong has shifted their economy to be more about the tourism industry, with plenty of domestic tourists coming over from China. One of the most important events Honk Kong hosts every year is the International Chinese New Year Night Parade, which according to CNN, attracted over 150,000 people.
1 2019: Madeira, Portugal
This is just one of many islands just off the coast of Portugal. Madeira is situated just north of the Atlantic Ocean and has a population of 270,000 people. According to Statistic of Madeira, the tourism sector to this country is very important to their economy. Not only are they known for their beautiful beaches and historic monuments, but they are also known for their whale-watching season. If you are looking to fulfill your inner mermaid, then this is the right place for 2019.