Where to go in 2017
We believe an important part of travel is being in the right place at the right time, so we've racked our brains for the destinations that have something new and exciting to offer in 2017. These are the 10 destinations which we think should be top of your travel wish list right now...
Extending like a frayed ribbon down the west coast of South America, Chile is revered as the world’s longest country. Teeming with awe-inspiring scenery and incredible natural wonders, this thin sliver of land offers a dizzying array of holiday attractions. But despite this, a lack of direct flights has meant it hasn’t always been the easiest destination to get to… until now! Earlier this year British Airways announced they would be launching direct flights between London and Santiago from January 2017, firmly putting Chile in our top spot for next year’s travel hall of fame. The lively capital of Santiago is the gateway to the rest of the country and is where all Chile holidays begin. With these new direct flights, it's easier than ever to get out and explore the country's other highlights, including the world's driest desert in the north, the lush vineyards of the Central Valley, and the glaciers, fjords and glistening lakes of the south.
A rugged and beautiful wilderness nurturing the giants of the jungle, Central India is the heart of tiger country. This year we entered into a partnership with TOFT (Travel Operators for Tigers Campaign) to help support the great work they’re doing to protect India’s tigers. For every client that we send to India, we now make a donation to this worthy cause to enable TOFT to continue their efforts in regulating tiger tourism across the country, and to make sure you are able to go in search of these majestic creatures in a responsible and sustainable manner. The jungle provides so many wonderful adventures for our clients, and we’re really excited to be able to give something back to this unique habitat and the magnificent creatures that call it home. Travelling to India's national parks with Imagine in 2017 promises to be an exciting and humbling experience, and you can rest assured the properties you stay in and the activities you embark on have been marked with TOFT's stamp of approval and have the tigers' best interests at heart.
There's no hiding from the fact that the pound has taken quite a hit this year, but it's not all doom and gloom. There are still some currencies that offer much better value for British travellers today than they have done in recent years, and the Namibian Dollar (pegged to the South African Rand) is certainly one of these. With the Kalahari Desert to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Namibia is a vast country of limitless horizons. Vast red dunes collide with crashing waves, desert-adapted wildlife roams freely in Damaraland and Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world. Go and discover the rugged landscapes and exceptional wildlife of Namibia in 2017 and your pounds will go much further than you think.
Despite being the third largest country in the world, we’ve always seen China as something of an enigmatic kingdom. From the seemingly infinite 4,000-mile-long Great Wall which features on bucket lists worldwide, to the rice terraces in Longsheng and Chengdu's charming pandas, there is simply so much to explore. Home to the world’s oldest continuous civilization as well as some of the most futuristic megalopolises, China is a world of contrasts; head to Beijing and Xi’an to discover the country’s revolutionary and imperial past, or make your way to Shanghai and Hong Kong for a glamourous glimpse of the country’s future. Our Asia specialist Pete has recently returned from an all-encompassing trip around this fascinating country, and we’re confident that we’re heading into 2017 with more knowledge than we’ve ever had before about this mystical land, ready to share our specialist tips with all you avid adventurers.
In 2017 Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary of confederation, and the festivities taking place to mark the occasion are expected to last all year long. What's more, all of the country's national parks will be offering free entry for the whole year, making this never-ending adventure playground of forests, lakes and mountains more accessible than ever before. Canada is a vast country where you can lose yourself miles from anywhere; cross a silent lake in a canoe, speed up a rainforest river by jet boat, raft a mountain torrent or explore remote island archipelagos by yacht. And when better to plan a trip to this pristine wilderness than when national spirit is at an all-time high?
The tiny teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka has long been one of our most popular destinations, but next year we’re expecting its spellbinding allure to capture the senses of even more avid travellers. Why? Back in October the World Health Organisation declared Sri Lanka malaria-free as a result of the country's hugely effective anti-malaria campaign over the last few years. We are delighted to hear all the hard work has paid off, and are sure this is going to have a really positive effect on the country’s tourism industry. If you want to escape to the lush rainforests, elephant-filled national parks and fabled tea plantations of Sri Lanka, we recommend you head there as soon as possible before the crowds descend. What’s more, with the country now officially malaria-free, we can’t think of anywhere better to take your family next year.
The last couple of years haven’t been an easy ride for Kenya, with a number of news headlines steering travellers away in favour of other destinations. But with the travel advice now lifted and the country doing everything they can to welcome back visitors with open arms, there has never been a better time to book a trip. Travellers to Kenya in 2017 can expect to enjoy plenty of space, great rates, and an excellent safari experience. What’s more, East Africa's first on-foot rhino tracking experience is launching in northern Kenya in February 2017 with the opening of Saruni Rhino – the newest addition to the Saruni collection, whose lodges are already well-known in Kenya and are firm favourites with many Imagine clients. Marking a huge milestone for conservation and tourism in Kenya, we are so excited by this news and can't wait for it to open.
Here at Imagine we love wildlife, and we know our clients do too. So it's no surprise that the Galapagos Islands, which are home to some of the most fearless and unique wildlife anywhere on Earth, are amongst our most popular destinations. Because of this, we made these fascinating volcanic islands one of our key focuses this year, and launched a brand new Galapagos guidebook as well as a video showing why these spectacular islands draw our specialists back time and time again. With both of these ready and waiting to whet your appetite, we think you might struggle to resist the Galapagos Islands when considering where to head for 2017’s big trip. What’s more, Galapagos is a year-round destination with different wildlife phenomena going on every month, so whenever you want to travel next year, we can make sure you're in the right place at the right time to witness the islands' wildlife during its most fascinating moments.