As the end of the year approaches and a fresh allotment of vacation time beckons, travel companies are looking ahead with predictions for 2020.

View to the sea and Volcano from Fira, the capital of Santorini in Greece
Greece tops the list of Contiki followers' bucket-list destinations for 2020. Image © photography/Shutterstock

To determine where its audience of millennials and Gen Z travellers will be heading in the coming months, social travel company Contiki has polled its 320,000-plus Instagram followers for their bucket-list destinations – and while classic European stops like Greece, Italy, Spain, and England are still ranking highly, lesser-expected points like Namibia, New Zealand, and America’s Pacific northwest are also proving to be attractive propositions. 

One of Lonely Planet’s 10 best value destinations for 2020, Greece tops Contiki’s list, from the white-sand beaches of Mykonos, Ios, and smaller islands like Paros to the historic roots of Athens, Olympia, and Delphi, the latter two growing increasingly more popular with the company’s demographic. And even as new rules and fees surround Venice tourism, the canal-bedecked city is still an epic draw, as are Italian stalwarts like Rome and Florence – but wine-oriented explorations in Tuscany, Chianti, and Sorrento are beginning to pull focus. 

It’s not all old-world glamour, though. From the elite wildlife-watching at Etosha National Park (think: big cats, elephants, plains game, and more) to Damaraland’s desert-adapted elephants and lions, plus Africa's largest population of free-ranging rhinos, to the parks of the Caprivi Strip, not to mention the natural beauty of its varied landscapes and the memorable human story of its traditional people, Namibia is the only African destination to make this year’s hit list. 

Questions of timeliness and cost also factor into the Contiki audience’s determinations. Thanks to this year’s Rugby World Cup and next year’s summer Olympic games, Japan has become even more enticing to international travelers. And with Icelandair’s free stopover for transatlantic journeys, as well as budget airlines’ new routes to Iceland, the land of fire and ice is drawing more interest than ever.

Whether it’s the fascination with all things Meghan Markle or the buzz surrounding the new season of The Crown, the UK is seeing plenty of bookings – Contiki’s England & Scotland trip is up 10% since last year, a significant increase. Elsewhere in Europe, lesser-travelled Spanish cities like Granada, Seville, Toledo, and Segovia are piquing travellers’ interest, while Croatia’s inland and islands alike are proving to be a draw. With cinematic landscapes and adventurous experiences, New Zealand sees loads of repeat visitors, and the cool-kid cred of Portland and Seattle – stellar music, food, and art scenes, set against a pristine natural backdrop – put America’s Pacific Northwest region on the radar. 

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