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Consumer Travel Trends for 2012: Israel, Indonesia, London and More

By Amy Bertrand, St. Louis Post-DispatchMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jan. 11, 2012--In the past few weeks I've gotten tons of emails from places touting the new travel trends. I spent several weeks on the phone with area travel agents asking about St. Louis trends. Their tops spots for St. Louisans traveling in 2012: Hawaii, the Caribbean and European river cruises.

But I really loved this list of the top travel trends for 2012 from private guided tour company Kensington Tours.

1. The Golden Age Of Travel: High-end consumers are looking to voyage back through time to the golden age of travel. Journeys reminiscent of the romantic, adventure style of old are extremely popular, notes Kensingtons expert Brad Crockett. Affluent travelers are interested in the old world elegance of train journeys, classic desert camps, and mobile safaris where they sleep under the stars.

2. Customized Heritage Tours: Bookings coming on strong for 2012 often focus on the guests interest in their genealogical past and want to trace family lineage and explore their ancestral homelands. Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Poland, France, Italy and Russia are all extremely popular due to emigration around World War II, says Kensington's Europe expert, Eimear Duggan.

3. Introducing The New Colombia: Colombia's back and ready to show the world what they've been missing, says Expert Noraly Barillas. This Latin American treasure is a pulsating museum of adventure with pirate legends, a rich colonial past, coffee plantations, Amazon rainforests, 14 percent of the world's biodiversity and the lost city of Ciudad Perdida. With beaches that rival any in the Caribbean and charismatic cities like Cartagena and Bogota, this is one country that wont be denied its chance to shine.

4. Intimate African Wilds: Savvy safari planners looking for a more intimate African experience are opting more and more for privately-owned concessions. South Africa has always been well known for this exclusive safari style, according to expert Gabrielle Nijdam. But now, Kenyas range of top-notch conservancies are no longer just the well-kept secret of the jet-set and there are a growing number in Tanzania including the Singitas Sabora Camp and the new Manyara Ranch Conservancy.

5. Indonesia: Bali may be on the top of every traveler's list thanks to "Eat, Pray Love," but once through with yoga and monkey dances, rest of Indonesia awaits. Asia expert Jacob Hason says, "Travelers in 2012 are going further afield to the islands of Komodo dragons, to see the orangutans of Borneo, trekking Mt. Bromo volcano and to witness the eerie funeral rites of Sulawesi."

6. London Calling: Hot on the heels of Will and Kate upping its hip factor, the UK is buzzing for 2012, says expert Kerstin Sowden. Monarchists will be going for Queen Elizabeths Jubilee in June and sports fans from around the world for the Summer Games. For those not interested in taking part in either event, the secret to traveling smart is to go after the Games when the UK is still at its shiny best but the Olympic size crowds, lines and prices are gone.

7. Israel: With a record 3.45 million visitors to Israel last year and numbers predicted to rise, the Holy Land is attracting more visitors than it has in millenniums partially due to an assortment of new adrenaline adventures attracting more than just pilgrims. Visitors to Israel in 2012 will be hiking, biking horseback riding, mountain climbing rappelling scuba diving, archaeological digs and jeep safaris, according to expert Chris Bazos.

8. The Myanmar Road: An Exotic Time Warp Asia expert Sarah Ferguson recommends Myanmar for those yearning for exotic adventures more akin to the Anchor Wat of 20 years ago. Largely off limits to tourists until recently, Myanmar offers mysterious beauty with its hundreds of temples, tantalizing cuisine, painted caves, golden Buddas, river cruises, floating gardens and tranquil beaches.

9. A Year Of Centennials: This year brings with it two monumental 100 year anniversaries in travel: the end of the race to the South Pole and the sinking of the worlds most famous ocean liner, the Titanic. Elite adventurers from around the world are commemorating these epic events with tours that have prices to match. A cruise with submarine trips down to the Titanic starts at $66,000 while one can take a private jet for a day trip to Antarctica at $9,000.


(c)2012 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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