What do Japan, Thailand, Spain, Hawaii, and Canada have in common? They’re leading the 2024 travel scene, as reported by the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA). Each country offers unique experiences and adventures that resonate with U.S. travelers.
Japan and Thailand top GHA’s list of most popular destinations for the upcoming year, with Spain, Canada, and Hawaii following close behind. These destinations are chosen for their locations and the variety of experiences they offer. They reflect travelers’ diverse reasons for exploring, from personal interests and cultural attractions to the thrill of discovering new places.
“Travel is back on all fronts with every region thriving, and despite disruptions in certain markets, we are optimistic for another strong year in 2024. Travelers are still willing to pay premium prices to get where they want and to stay in the best hotels,” says Kristi Gole, Executive Vice President of Strategy at GHA.
Japan: A Culinary Odyssey
In 2024, the United States and Japan celebrate a significant milestone in their foreign relations by designating it as the “U.S.-Japan Tourism Year.” Japan’s allure is multifaceted, but for many, like Alex Caspero from Delish Knowledge, it’s the culinary scene that captivates.
“Japan has been a bucket list destination of mine for years, mainly because of the food! I’ve been eyeing it since binging A Chef’s Table during the pandemic. After reading an article about Hokkaido in Bon Appetit earlier this year, I finally committed to booking a trip. I’ll be traveling solo for some of the trip, and as Japan has a notoriously low crime rate, I felt safe going on my own for some of the dates.”
Caspero’s sentiments echo a larger trend where travelers seek destinations offering rich, authentic culinary experiences. Japan’s unique food culture, from street food to high-end cuisine, continues to draw food enthusiasts worldwide. While Japan isn’t known for luxury hotels (fewer than 60 in the country), its hospitality, or “omotenashi,” more than compensates, offering visitors a deeply personal experience, whether they’re staying in a traditional ryokan or a modern boutique hotel.
Hawaii: The Quest for Tranquility
Americans continue to flock to Hawaii, where the annual number of tourists from the U.S. alone is five times higher than the actual population of these small islands.
For some, travel is less about adventure and more about finding peace and familiarity. With its serene landscapes and relaxing ambiance, Hawaii stands out as a perfect retreat.
Elise Armitage, a travel and lifestyle blogger at What The Fab, explains her choice for a babymoon: “We’re planning a trip to Hawaii for our babymoon because it’s our happy place! We’ve been several times and always feel so at peace and relaxed there, which is perfect for the type of trip we’re looking for. If we’re traveling to a new destination, I feel pressure to explore, sight-see, and do all the things, which is not the vibe we’re going for on this trip! I’m looking forward to relaxing at the beach and sipping on (virgin) piña coladas!”
Moreover, Hawaii, and particularly Oahu, is a hit with families. With its range of activities, it’s simple to create the perfect itinerary for families, blend beach relaxation with nature exploration and cultural visits, and make every vacation both peaceful and memory-making.
Canada: Cultural and Linguistic Diversity
Emerging as a top vacation destination among U.S. citizens, Canada offers an opportunity to experience a blend of different languages and cultures within one country. Its unique mix of English and French influences, along with many experiences across its vast landscapes, makes it an increasingly popular choice for travelers.
Canadian travel writer Margarita Ibbott highlights these influences: “Canada is a unique culture within a country. Let me explain: the province of Quebec is populated primarily by French speakers. They bring with them a history, culture, and unbelievable food. You want to visit Canada because there is a whole different ‘country’ surrounded by an English-speaking culture, and that makes for some very interesting travel stories.”
Popular destinations such as Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Banff showcase a mix of city life and natural beauty. These cities offer experiences ranging from coastal views and urban energy to historical sites and mountain landscapes, making Canada an attractive choice for travelers.
Spain: Authenticity and Adventure
Spain rounds out GHA’s list of upcoming hotspots and is known for its authentic experiences, beautiful scenery, and adventure opportunities.
Marjolein Dilven from Spark Nomad says, “This summer, we’re planning on visiting Northern Spain. We plan to visit Bilbao, San Sebastian, and Picos de Europa. We want the authentic Spanish experience with its marvelous coastlines, local culture, amazing cuisine with tapas and pintxos, and relaxed atmosphere. Besides the amazing food and culture, they have unique hiking opportunities in the Picos de Europa National Park, where we’ll be hiking during the day and resting our legs during the long summer evenings with a glass of wine.”
Spain is home to many tourist attractions, but among the most popular are La Sagrada Família in Barcelona, an architectural masterpiece by Antoni Gaudí, and the Alhambra in Granada, a stunning fortress reflecting Moorish heritage. The Prado Museum in Madrid is also a must-visit for art lovers, showcasing an extensive collection of European masterpieces.
Looking Ahead to Next Year’s Travel Landscape
The travel trends for 2024 identified by GHA point to a year filled with exciting destinations and experiences. This wide range of choices shows that people want more than just a vacation; they want personal growth and a chance to experience different cultures.
This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Karee Blunt is the founder of OurWovenJourney.com, a travel blog focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.