2017 is the Year to Commit to #TravelGoals: My #TTCTop10 Bucket List
I hope you are having a positive start to the New Year? Looking ahead to this brave, exciting new year, hopefully you are already thinking about where your leisure travels will take you this year. I recommend you don’t leave it too late, so make sure you book your flights and other travel plans early, ensuring the best price and availability.
Having been inspired by our 2017 #TTCTop10 Bucket List that was released recently, I am excited to share my own list. I have done some extensive research of what travel writers and publications are promoting as their top places to visit this year, and I also looked back at my 2016 Top Ten. I readily admit that I only crossed off four of my list last year – France, Ireland (three times), Thailand and the US.
So my 2017 Top Ten list is an amalgamation of that research, putting back on the list a few destinations that are still in my top five “must go soon” places to visit and some new ones too. Here is my third annual Top Ten list, which I hope is a more measured combination of aspirational destinations and realistically achievable ones.
1. France – I believe we all need to show our support and commitment for this remarkable, unique destination, whose inbound tourism continues to suffer significantly since the attacks of November 2015 and July 2016. So in continuing to support French tourism, this remains my number one destination – not just for this reason, but being I love the food, the experiences, the history, culture and diversity of destinations, from Paris to Nice. My 2017 itinerary will be on Uniworld’s new super ship, the S.S. Joie de Vivre with their enhanced itinerary, Paris & Normandy. I will be on board on the 26th March inaugural, and will also get to enjoy some of the very amazing, unique excursions which have been organized by Uniworld for our new ship’s guests. This 8-day luxury river boat cruise begins in the City of Light and sails to Normandy’s countryside with featured excursions to Claude Monet’s home in Giverny and the famed Normandy beaches.
2. New Zealand – This is a top five bucket list destination with my family – to show them the amazing, delightful, very pure “Aotearoa”, which is translated from the Maori as “The Land of the Long White Cloud.” I’ve been there numerous times on business (and will return there at the beginning of February for a couple of days) but my aspiration is to bring our family there to experience and enjoy all this destination has to offer, including some fly fishing, seeing the fragile Kiwi bird sanctuary one of our travel companies supports, meet some of the wonderful locals, enjoy some fun outdoor sports, go to an All-Blacks rugby match and much more. AAT King’s 22-day The Long White Cloud itinerary transports our guests to the rainforests of Franz Josef at the foothills of Mt. Cook, one gets to sleep among the treetops in the Coromandel Ranges and journey to the stunning landscapes of Stewart Island.
3. India A perennial Top Ten destination, which is still to happen. My personal commitment is to plan and book this amazing destination this year, with a goal of visiting next year with my wife. We are interested in experiencing Insight Vacations’ Luxury Gold, 14-day Classical India with Nepal itinerary. We will marvel at the iconic Taj Mahal, explore the oldest living city in the world, Varanasi and photograph the beautiful UNESCO cultural heritage sites of Kathmandu Valley.
4. Kenya – It was most encouraging to see the recovery of this majestic, proud destination and people. New lodges and areas have opened up here, and I am very excited to be already booked for a ME to WE Kenya Community Experience with Craig and Marc Kielburger this summer with my wife and daughter. I look forward to sharing photos and stories from this social enterprise’s purpose driven trip later this year. ME to WE’s Bogani Lodge is based in the spectacular Maasai Mara and our family will be participating in a sustainable development project. We are committed to continue our WE partnership with the support of our TreadRight Foundation.
5. Canada – With Insight Vacations, I look forward to the opportunity to enjoy their Luxury Gold 14-day, Majesty of the Rockies itinerary which showcases the beautiful Western region of Canada, a destination that has seen strong demand from global travelers over the past year. This journey takes our guests to the scenic resort town of Whistler and to three of the nation’s most spectacular National Parks – Lake Louise, Banff and Jasper. I have the utmost respect and admiration for Canadians, some of the nicest and most caring, talented people I’ve met anywhere, so I very much look forward to spending more quality leisure time here and celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary.
6. Mexico – Some of my closest friends live in Mexico, and while I’ve visited this amazing place often, where the cuisine, the tequila and the people are as genuine and delicious as anywhere I’ve ever visited, and reinforces that one has to truly experience a destination to learn about, taste and enjoy the true essence and originality of the destination, versus pre-conceived perceptions of having dined on adapted cuisine in your own country. I would like to experience Trafalgar’s 9-day Mexico’s Copper Canyon and embark on one of the world’s most exciting train journeys and stay at an Authentic Accommodation in the rim of Copper Canyon which is four times larger than the Grand Canyon. In the charming town of Guerrero, we will experience an exclusive Be My Guest lunch where one is served a wonderful meal of traditional foods hosted by a local family.
7. Spain – My wife and I recently had the honor and pleasure of visiting Madrid these past few days to attend the kick-off of UNWTO’s “International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development” – with our company being a Diamond Sponsor this special year. This was a brief, independent trip to help commemorate and support this important initiative, led by the Secretary General of the UNWTO, the truly remarkable, brilliant Dr. Taleb Rifai. Here is UNWTO’s #travelenjoyrespect video celebrating the International Year of Sustainable Tourism. I also highly recommend Trafalgar’s immersive 15-day Best of Spain itinerary where our guests will explore the unforgettable destinations of Madrid, Seville and Barcelona.
8. Thailand – Similar to the purpose and reason for visiting Spain, my return to Thailand (Bangkok) in April since my last trip in September last year, will be to attend and join other global travel industry leaders at the World Travel & Tourism Global Summit. I will then get to participate in a Tourism Cares event, where with other industry leaders, we’ll “roll up our sleeves” and come together for a day to give back to the destination we have traveled to and spent time in, by doing a project which will offset our collective carbon footprint from traveling to and being there, and benefit the local community in a meaningful way. Adventure World offers their in-depth 21-day Indochina Adventure which begins in vibrant Bangkok and onwards to the culturally significant northern city of Chiang Mai with an excursion to the colorful night market.
9. Britain – One of my favorite and most frequent destinations (London), I look forward to bringing my family back for a brief visit (after the Uniworld cruise), for the first time since we lived there until 2010. Post the “Brexit” vote, the British Pound has depreciated in value, making this an even better value destination today for most international travelers. We look forward to taking an Evan Evans trip up to Bath and to visit Stonehenge and then a visit to “The Making of Harry Potter” Warner Brothers Studio Tour as well.
10. USA – I would be remiss in not planning a trip within my own beautiful country of residence, a land so rich and diverse one can never tire of enjoying the vast array of different places to see and enjoy. This year, my travel plans include visits to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida and Colorado, primarily on business trips. Our CostSaver 10-day Fall Colors of New England is a scenic trip during the colorful autumn season, which begins in historic Boston, along the stunning Cape Cod coastline and picturesque New England towns.
Wherever YOU decide to travel to this year, I wish you a safe, memorable and most enjoyable time away from home. I sincerely and passionately also encourage you to try one of our many varied experiences across our group of 30 travel brands. Please spend a few minutes exploring our TTC website, to learn more. I guarantee you an amazing experience with great value and priceless memories, new friendships and the subsequent desire to go again.
Sincerely and warmly,