Just like 2022, 2023 is shaping up to be another year of lavish travel. In fact, Geoffrey Kent, founder and co-chairman of luxury travel agency, Abercrombie and Kent, says his clients are continuing to splurge on travel plans in the new year, and so far, the trend shows no signs of slowing. With pandemic fatigue still lingering on most people’s minds, Kent reckons far-flung places that promise a once-in-a-lifetime experience will capture the attention of travelers in 2023. “East and southern Africa remain our most sought-after destinations,” he says. Kent. “These are the places people have been dreaming about during the pandemic, so it’s essential to book well in advance.” He notes that many of the small lodges and boutique camps he usually recommends are already sold out for most dates, “especially in places like Namibia, a destination that’s just starting to attract international attention.”
There has also been an increase in visiting places that travelers already know and love, but in a slightly different way. Lauren Dru, founder of luxury travel company Escapades, reflected on some recently opened resorts in Mexico that she hopes will become hotspots, such as the Costa Palmas development near Cabo. Europe will continue to be a popular destination, but “What’s old is new. In Europe, it’s all about finding ways to explore true and tried-and-true destinations in depth and off the beaten track,” says Kent. And, of course, places that had previously been closed to tourists due to the pandemic, such as Japan, have a particularly attractive mystique. For the full scoop, read on to discover the eight destinations that will be on everyone’s radar in 2023, below.
From its topography, to its historic archaeological sites, to its rich cultural history, Peru has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a trip to Machu Picchu or a visit to the impressive Rainbow Mountain, Kent is confident Peru’s natural beauty will be a tourist attraction for the year ahead. Not to mention its vibrant cuisine (think ceviche, empanadas and lomo saltado, a fried steak that comes with fries… sign up). If you do decide to take the plunge, Kent suggests planning “a food-focused bike tour of Lima, a hike through the Sacred Valley with local villagers and llamas, and … hiking the last part of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. — with first goals
“For those looking for incredible scenery, this little-known but conservation-oriented country in southern Africa is a must-see,” says Kent. Although Namibia has remained relatively under the radar compared to neighbors such as Botswana and South Africa, Kent believes that is about to change. With terrain ranging from rolling coastal dunes to more rugged and rocky country, one of the biggest incentives to visit Namibia is that it has the highest concentration of cheetahs in the world. Stay at the small, ultra-remote Okahirongo Elephant Lodge or Okahirongo River Camp to experience a desert safari with the chance to see elephants, lions and giraffes.
With the opening of the much-anticipated Grand Egyptian Museum set for next year (it will house the world’s largest archaeological collection as well as Tutankhamun’s 5,000 treasures), Egypt is well poised to become a major tourist destination by 2023. It’s also a historic moment in the history of Egypt to visit; November 22 marks 100 years since the discovery of King Tut’s tomb. After lifting its COVID restrictions earlier this summer, pyramid jumps and hot air balloon rides over Luxor’s ancient sites are back in business with a vengeance. To get it right, stay at the legendary Sofitel Legend Old Cataract and pretend you’re Agatha Christie; it is where he was inspired to write his famous novel, Death on the Nile.
Sicily and Sardinia
Let’s be real, Sicily and Sardinia are always hot spots, but 2023 will be about discovering new ways to explore two of Italy’s most famous islands. Instead of sticking strictly to the coast, Kent suggests heading inland to the countryside and taking a 4×4 Jeep safari. Or, “Visit a local olive oil producer with an old underground mill. Admire the local architecture…[like] the Sicilian Baroque style that made Ragusa and Modica a UNESCO World Heritage Site”. And of course, whatever you do, take some time to try the local cuisine. It is Italy, after all.
Eastern Cape of Mexico
For those who just want to lie on the beach with margaritas and chips as far as the eye can see, we might introduce Mexico’s Eastern Cape in the Sea of Cortez or, more specifically, the recently opened Costa Palmas development. Consisting of a Four Seasons, a Mozza Baja villa by Nancy Silverton, a golf club and an Aman under construction, Costa Palmas is the ultimate in laid-back luxury. We’ve already seen a few influencers posting from there before Dru’s recommendation, so it’s pretty much a given that it’s about to be everywhere. If you’re bored of lounging, there are plenty of activities to indulge in, from horse riding to rowing and walking around the nearby islands, but if you’re like us, lounging will be more than enough.
Because Japan has been closed to tourists for so long, it’s booming right now, Dru says, and will undoubtedly continue to do so until 2023. Known for its unbeatable cuisine, spring cherry blossoms, architecture, historic temples and rich culture, it’s hard to succinctly summarize everything Japan has to offer. Our best tip? Split your trip so you have time to see contemporary cities like Tokyo and Osaka, as well as more traditional sites like Kyoto.
Kent was so impressed with all that Colombia has to offer that after making several personal trips he set up an Abercrombie and Kent office there. Suffice to say, he predicts we’ll be seeing a lot more of the South American country next year. Your top suggestions for things to do? Stroll through Bogotá’s markets, check out the Catedral de Sal (a church built inside the tunnels of an underground salt mine), and visit Cartagena’s historic monuments.
Located near the Belize border and nestled in a lagoon, Bacalar’s Caribbean waters and serene surroundings have managed to remain one of Mexico’s best-kept secrets…but not for long. Likened to nearby Tulum without the crowds by Conde Nast Traveler (due to the region’s commitment to sustainability), Bacalar boasts Mayan ruins, lush jungles and several cenotes. In recent years, a handful of eco-hotels have also opened, such as the Habitas project. All we have to say is, get ready for Bacalar to become a regular part of your travel vocabulary.