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Where We're Going in 2016

It's that time of year when lists, predictions and forecasts for the year ahead abound in media. Here in New York, our public relations team always geeks out over the New York Times 52 Places to Go List (humble brag by the way, our client Intrepid Travel made the cut for their offerings in destination #7, Mozambique). But, wanderlust aside, this is a great time to look ahead and think about the destinations, experiences, brands and technology that will shape travel in 2016.

The immediate future will be defined by travelers' spontaneity, their expectation for personalized service, and the desire to do good. And yes, we all want to go to Cuba. It's worth noting that not all of the brands and destinations we mention in this round-up are our clients. We're passionate about travel. Our goal is to inspire people to go places and spark a dialogue about the transformative power of travel. So as members of the most exciting industry in the world, we present our ideas on where we're going – as travelers and as an industry – in 2016.

Spontaneity: Seeing as taking time off is already proving to be a challenge for Americans, some of us won't be planning trips with tons of lead time. Enter services like Zozi, which has caught the eye of Richard Branson, for its ability to pair travelers with trusted tour operators and vendors in destinations in the U.S. and around the world. Our own PR client Jetzy rewards travelers and locals alike through a platform designed for information sharing on specific destinations. So, say you're in New York and want a tip for a cool bar, a local resident using the app can share their tips, and you both get rewards or discounts for these kinds of experiences. And with millennials opting for more "staycations," apps like GasBuddy are an incredible resource to make a weekend getaway an even more affordable proposition.

Personalization: By this we really mean having greater control over our trips. We know that millennials are the generation that is most likely to engage a travel agent, but across the board, we know that people want experiences that feel tailored to them. Enter, then, artificial intelligence to meet and exceed travelers' expectations. But, two steps (or several years) before that, the increasing use of messaging apps like WhatsApp for customer service and other traveler needs are definitely part of the way forward for personalization.

Doing Good: We're not talking about voluntourism, but travelers want to know that travel brands are doing the right thing by the environment and by the places they do business in. Leading the charge here are our friends at Travel + Social Good, an offshoot of the United Nations "+Social Good" network, which brings together media, entrepreneurs and travel brands to make travel a force for good.

But Where We Really Want to Go Is... And now for a list of dream destinations our team has visited and loved or just can't wait to visit. The only science to pulling this list together is our staff's enthusiasm for exploring. Hope this inspires you to get up and go!

Cuba
Why Now: President Obama just called for an end to the embargo in his final State of the Union Address. Go. Now.

Colombia
Why Now: Not just for the gorgeous women, but it's safer than ever before, with tons to offer – from its cosmopolitan verve to its unmatched ecological offerings.

Ecuador
Why Now: The Galapagos Islands never cease to inspire, but the capital city of Quito continues to muscle in on the big cities of Latin America as a hub for culture.

Costa Rica
Why Now: When you think ecotourism, you think Costa Rica. We quite like the new Chayote Lodge outside San Jose in the country's famed coffee region.

Greece
Why Now: Party it up in Mykonos, snap the selfie of a lifetime overlooking the cliffs of Santorini, or wander the streets of Athens. Recent visitors from MMGY raved about their trip over the holidays...it can only get better as the weather gets warmer.

Seattle, WA
Why Now: Marijuana tourism might not be sparking travel to Seattle, but if you do go, here's what the locals are up to.

Fire Island, NY
Why Now: Enjoy the "catwalk" in the Pines.

Sri Lanka
Why Now: Tea, sapphires and stunning beaches.

India
Why Now: The colors of Holi Day.

Tahiti
Why Now: No excuse needed.

Qatar
Why Now: Architecture. See what the future really has to offer from the minds of “starchitects” like Zaha Hadid. Learn more about Zaha here.

But this is just our wish list. Where do you want to go? Share your comments and keep checking our blog for more insights on emerging travel trends.

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