With a nearly 300% spike in bookings compared to last year, Kaikoura in New Zealand, which landed on the world's radar after being struck by a massive earthquake in 2016, tops Airbnb's list of top trending destinations of 2019.
Airbnb's annual best destinations list is based on a combination of booking, search and wishlist growth data and also aims to highlight under-the-radar regions, cities and towns.
Destinations include places that are recovering from natural disasters, a car-free island in southeastern China, and Normandy in France, which next year marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Rounding out the top 10 spots are Buenos Aires Province in Argentina, Accra in Ghana, Mozambique and the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. Here's a look at the top trending destinations for 2019, based on Airbnb findings:
Kaikoura, New Zealand
This coastal town in the South Island has staged a strong comeback following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2016. Transportation services are back online and services like whale and seal-watching have resumed. Year-over-year bookings in 2018 saw a 295% spike in growth, while searches also spiked 210%.
Described as a romantic port city, Xiamen is also home to Kulangsu, a pedestrian-only island located just off the coast, popular with seafood lovers. In 2018, the destination enjoyed booming popularity on Airbnb, with a 283% increase in bookings.
A two-hour drive from Mexico City, Puebla is a charming architectural and culinary destination – an alternative to the typical beach vacation, says Airbnb. Year-over-year searches spiked 240%.
Next year marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. A two-hour train ride from Paris, the region is also home to the Route du Camembert, the trail named after France's soft cheese. Bookings increased year-over-year 229%.
Great Smoky Mountains, United States
With two of the park's most iconic trails set to reopen following a wildfire that ripped through the park two years ago, America's most visited national park is poised to become even busier. Year-over-year bookings in the area increased 191%, while searches also spiked 190%. – AFP Relaxnews