Need Mission Possible clue? Visit Morocco

WANDERLUST: Scenes from Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation were filmed in Morocco, which, with its bustling Marrakesh square (pictured) and natural landscapes, is set to be


    Jan 13, 2016

    Need Mission Possible clue? Visit Morocco

    HOW many people have you met who have actually stuck to their New Year's resolutions past January?

    Instead of fretting over that pesky list of things that will get chucked out faster than you can say "Happy New Year", take a cue from travel industry experts and map out where you will spend your resolution-free vacation days in 2016.

    With travellers becoming more time-poor, the demand for experiential travel has increased tremendously.

    No longer satisfied with just superficial sightseeing, the savvy tourist looks for something tangible; something that will leave a lingering mark on far more than just his wallet.

    Caroline Lam, executive director of luxury travel management company Quintessentially Travel, says: "In the past, we've had requests from clients visiting Italy, which revolved around shopping and dining.

    "There's been a recent shift to ones that incorporate elements of experience. We just facilitated a client's desire to feel like a race driver for the day by arranging for him to participate in the Master Maserati Course in Parma and Florence."

    Ms Lam pointed to Croatia as one of the hottest destinations of 2016.

    Evon Ler, president of Insight Vacations (Asia), agrees, acknowledging popular culture as a great motivator for tourism.

    Ms Ler, whose experience in the travel industry has spanned more than 20 years, says: "The massive popularity of the TV show Game Of Thrones has undoubtedly led to peoples' awareness of Croatia as a country with beautiful landscapes and sprawling seas.

    "And with many scenes from Tom Cruise's Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation being filmed in Morocco, combined with its natural beauty, I think that'll be another highly sought after destination... "

    Hajar Ali, founder of luxury travel agency Urbane Nomads, proposed Mongolia as the place to be. Having just returned from a five-month trip split between polo lessons in Britain and horseback archery sessions in Turkey, she, unsurprisingly, did not recommend Mongolia, the birthplace of Genghis Khan, as just a simple Instagram-plumping exercise.

    The 35-year-old says: "Mongolia is way off the beaten track and that can limit some people. Even if you sign up for luxury travel there, the elements are uncontrollable so you're not going to know for sure that everything will go as planned.

    "But it's the only place in the world I know of where you can ride reindeer and that's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," she adds.

    Another hot destination for 2016, in more ways than one, is Cuba, known for its cigars, beaches and drug lord Pablo Escobar. Nico Heath, co-founder and director of luxury tour operator Lightfoot Travel, says: "With the embargo being lifted, travel to this gorgeous country, where time has stood still for the past 54 years, will flourish."

    The 33-year-old recommends that travellers go there as soon as possible to experience the country's authenticity.

    He says: "With increased interest comes the risk of Cuba losing its dreamily dilapidated and magical charm in favour of the American way of life."

    And if you are really looking for something out of the way, why not try Antarctica?

    Mr Heath says: "We've seen a trend of wanting unique holiday destinations which has even extended to remote continents like Antarctica.

    "People really want that 'trip of a lifetime'."

    In contrast, ordinarily popular destinations such as France and Nepal, who have suffered from unexpected events recently, will see a decline in tourism numbers in 2016 due to the perception of a lack of security.

    But Mr Heath asserts that the hit to their tourism industry would not be permanent.

    "There is usually a slump in the following weeks or months but they do always manage to bounce back and return to being a highly visited destination," he notes.