These are the 8 hottest destinations this year

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Now that travel is back, where are people going?

While many countries saw tourist arrivals rise steadily last year and so far this year, there were some countries that fared much better than expected.

Tourist girl visiting the Chronicle of Georgia in Tbilisi, Georgia

Using data collected from official travel agencies around the world, there are certain destinations that come out on top so far this year.

With tourism numbers rising back to pre-pandemic levels, these countries are among those showing the biggest jumps in arrivals.

Lake Sevan Armenia

These are the 8 hottest destinations this year:


One county trending among tourists this year is the often-overlooked Armenia.

In January 2023, 69% more foreign tourists visited Armenia than in January 2022, based on numbers from the Tourism Committee of Armenia.

People flock to this Eastern European country for its diverse landscape of deserts, canyons and mountains, and not to forget the stunning Lake Sevan.

Besides beauty, Armenia is rich in cultural heritage and fantastic food and wine.

Although the number of tourists to Armenia is on the rise, it seems that many American travelers are still unaware of this stunning country and all it has to offer.

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Aerial view of a 9th-century Armenian Apostolic Monastery located near the village of Tatev in Armenia


Thanks in part to a tourism campaign initiated by the Tbilisi government, international arrivals to this underrated country are on the rise.

Known as the birthplace of wine, many come here for the capital’s rich melting pot to explore the countryside for ancient cave towns and to see Europe’s highest village.

As a trending destination, there are plenty of reasons to visit Georgia this year.

Being known as a safe destination also helps raise Georgia’s profile among tourists, as the relatively perceived level of safety is a big draw for those who come here.

Colorful traditional houses with wooden carved balconies in the Old Town of Tbilisi, Georgia


This Southeast Asian hotspot is once again trending with many international tourists arriving so far this year.

Figures from Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports show that 2.14 million visitors arrived in Thailand in January 2023, a jump of more than 1,500% from this time last year.

One of the reasons for the huge jump in arrivals to Thailand is the re-opening of China, with Thailand being a preferred destination for Chinese tourists.

Of course, Thailand has been and will always remain a popular option for tourists from all over the world; with beaches, islands, temples and fantastic food, it’s clear why it’s always a leader.

Those planning a trip to the Land of Smiles should keep in mind that a tourist tax begins to be paid this year.

boat market in Thailand

Hong Kong

After finally lifting its travel restrictions late last year, Hong Kong has seen a huge boost in international arrivals.

January 2023 brought over seventy times more visitors than January 2022.

With the lifting of masks this March, tourists are returning to this one-of-a-kind city.

In addition to the rise in arrivals, officials said retail sales figures are steadily returning to pre-pandemic levels as more people flock to the metropolis for shopping.

Hong Kong is trending not only among travelers but also among shoppers.

Hong Kong Skyline Downtown Cityscape of Skyscrapers Over Victoria Harbor with Tourist Garbage Boat at Sunset

Saudi Arabia

One country in the Middle East that is trending for international travelers is Saudi Arabia.

In a bid to boost its tourism profile, Saudi Arabia is aiming for 25 million foreign visitors this year after 16.5 tourist visits last year.

Ahmad Al-Khatib, the kingdom’s tourism minister, said he expects Saudi Arabia to rank 17th in terms of tourist attractions globally, enticing visitors to come and explore the archaeological sites, beaches and other diverse attractions of the kingdom.

Another reason to keep an eye on Saudi Arabia for future travel is the massive project they are planning to create a new city that will be 33 times the size of New York.

Elephant Rock - Ola - Saudi Arabia


Europe is the largest destination region in the world and travel numbers across the continent are growing, with some countries doing better than others.

One of the leaders in international tourist arrivals is Spain, with a huge growth of almost 65.8% in arrivals for this January compared to last, according to information from the National Statistics Institute.

Spain welcomed over 70 million tourists last year, but with over 4 million arrivals already arriving in January alone, it looks set to smash last year’s numbers.

From magical little villages to stunning coastal towns to big cities bursting with culture, there really is something for everyone to enjoy in Spain.

Also, another reason for everyone to take a trip to Spain this summer is the prospect of free train passes, allowing visitors to explore this amazing country by train for free!

Cibeles Fountain in Madrid, Spain


It should come as no surprise to see Dubai on this list of trending destinations for 2023, as it was recently named the best destination in the world.

And with more flight options from the United States, traveling to Dubai has never been easier. As one of the top 5 most visited cities in the world, Dubai saw nearly 1.5 million visitors in January 2023 alone.

While there are many reasons why travelers love Dubai, this year they seem to like it a little more.

With endless attractions, incredible hotels and skyscrapers, and amazing landscapes, Dubai deserves its fanfare.

It has been described as the perfect combination of luxury and adventure, and travelers who visit are met with an array of ways to spend their time. From desert walks to rooftop cocktails, there seems to be something for everyone’s taste in Dubai.

Burj al Arab viewed from Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai


Travel to Africa has gotten off to a bit of a slow start since the pandemic, with many countries reporting increases in international arrivals, but nowhere near the huge jumps we’ve seen in other regions like Europe or Asia.

A long-standing favorite among safari seekers is Kenya, and this West African gem has seen a steady rise in international arrivals.

In 2022, Kenya had nearly 1.5 million international tourists, a huge increase from the previous year. Nearly 300,000 tourists arrived in Kenya in January and February 2023, meaning it is on track to surpass last year’s numbers.

Travelers looking for a little more luxury on safari will also be happy to know that high-end options in Kenya are expanding, with JW Marriott opening its first luxury safari property there this year.

Female tourist on safari in Africa, traveling by car in Kenya, observing zebras and antelopes in the savannah

Other destinations that have seen significant jumps in international arrivals so far this year include the Balkan region, Mexico, the Maldives and Switzerland.

Warning for passengers: Don’t forget travel insurance for your next trip!

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