At Signature Travel Network's Owners' Meeting at the Fairmont Austin, the network presented "Where to go in 2020." Ignacio Maza, executive vice president, and Jean Newman Glock, managing director of communications and public affairs, compiled the following list of destinations to be on the lookout for in the coming year:
Namibia: Magnificent scenery; Africa's tallest sand dunes; and very different safaris.
Southern Africa's "last frontier" offers desert-adapted wildlife, impressive stargazing, five-star lodges, giant sand formations and indigenous cultures—for starters. Travelers can take a heli-tour over the skeleton coast, catch the sunrise at the Sossusvlei Dunes, meet the Himba in Damaraland and spot big cats in Etosha National Park.
Slovenia: Outdoor adventures and excellent food and wine.
Travelers should visit Europe's green, clean, friendly, affordable and easily accessible country before the rest of the world catches on. There are plenty of outdoor adventures available, including hiking the Julian Alps, kayaking in Lake Bled, rafting and exploring the Postojna caves. Farm-to-table menus and local wines are common throughout the country, including its capital, Ljubljana.
Jordan: Ancient cities, new desert trails, the Dead Sea and "living, breathing history."
Even if you've seen Petra, it's time to return to Jordan. The newly inaugurated Jordan Trail is a "must" for the adventurous. You can also go glamping in Joran's desolate and exotic Wadi Rum, visit the Roman ruins of Jerash, soak in the Dead Sea, sleep in a Bedouin camp and see Jerusalem from Mount Nebo's newly reopened church.
Scotland: Royal yachts, misty Highlands, whale watching, falconry and castle stays.
Scotland is on almost everyone's list—and with good reason. From Edinburgh, you can enjoy a private dinner on Queen Elizabeth's favorite yacht, the HMY Britannia in Leith. You can then head north to the Highlands and stay at Gleneagles, which offers golf, falconry and hiking. Be among the first to follow the brand-new "Hebridean Whale Trail" for prime whale and dolphin watching along the coast.
Kaikoura, New Zealand: New Zealand's hub for marine wildlife, great rail, dining and lodge experiences.
The Kiwi capital of sea adventures suffered a great earthquake in November 2016 and is now back in business. You can experience marine life, spotting whales and albatrosses or swimming with seals and dolphins. Stay in a luxury treehouse at Hapuku Lodge, soar over the Kaikoura Mountains in a helicopter and catch the Coastal Pacific Train, one of New Zealand's top rail journeys.
Istanbul, Turkey: East meets West, shopping and dining galore, and more affordable than ever.
Photo by RudyBalasko/iStock / Getty Images Plus/ Getty Images
Cruises are returning to Istanbul, and you should, too. Guests can stay in a former Ottoman Palace, a design-forward retreat or in an intimate boutique hotel. Visit the Spice Market and go behind the scenes at the Turkish Modern Museum with a curator. Don't miss the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque but a private visit to the Dolmabahçe Palace will amaze you.
Salvador, Brazil: The cradle of Brazilian history, music and culture, and the best Bahian cuisine.
Africa meets South America in Salvador de Bahia. Nowhere else in the Americas is the heritage of former African slaves so alive and present. Travelers can enjoy delicious cuisine, rhythmic music, tropical beaches and wander through the Pelourinho district's 500 years of history. Travelers can stay in the new Fasano Salvador. Good to know: Visas are no longer required.
Hokkaido Island, Japan: Japan's best-kept secret, world-class hikes, hot springs and Sapporo's Snow Festival.
After visiting ever-popular Tokyo, experience Hokkaido, Japan's northern wilderness and home to the country's finest national parks. Travelers can hike active volcanoes and soak in some of the country's best hot springs. Be sure to check out the "endless flower fields" of Biei and taste Japan's freshest sashimi. Visit in winter and catch Sapporo's Snow Festival, complete with ice sculptures and winter sports.
Detroit, Michigan: A vibrant city experiencing a renaissance, with culture, dining and music to boot.
America's Motor City is making a comeback. Detroit is the home of Motown hits and techno music, as well as world-class art at the Institute of the Arts. You can enjoy innovative dining, architectural landmarks and a revitalized riverfront. Stroll Belle Isle, larger than New York's Central Park, and stay at the Shinola Hotel.
St. Petersburg, Russia: Tsars, revolutionaries and oligarchs and newly accessible palaces.
The home of the Romanovs, St. Petersburg continues to amaze. You can visit the Alexander Palace, last home of Tsar Nicholas II, reopening in 2020. Be sure to go behind the scenes in the Hermitage Storage Rooms, and don't miss the new Fabergé Museum at the renovated Shuvalov Palace. Another option is to enjoy a private performance of the Mariinksy Ballet and Opera in the recently opened Romanov Mansion.