For many of us, traveling more is a priority—easier than dieting and less risky than “finding that special someone”. If the new year means you’ve replenished your vacation days (and maybe even carried forward one or two from the previous year), all the more reason to start planning your getaway.
To get you started, we present the buzziest cities to travel to in 2019.
The cities below rank at the top of the list for our Best Cities Promotion category: quantity of stories, references, and recommendations shared online through Instagram hashtags, Facebook Check-ins, Google searches, and TripAdvisor reviews.
Given all the buzz, you don’t want to miss out on these cities in 2019.
WHY NOW? A double-digit fall in the pound against the euro and the dollar is spurring visits to the ‘Capital of Capitals,’ which reigns atop the planet’s best cities for the second year running.
HOW IT RANKS #1 for Google Search Results, Facebook Check-ins and TripAdvisor Reviews; #2 for Google Trends, #3 for Instagram Hashtags.
WHEN TO GO February
London is a tight, highly curated Venn diagram of multi-ethnic revelry, enviable luxury retail, coveted universities and colleges (more than 40 institutions of higher education are based in the city) and—finally!—the restaurants to sate the palates of a growing number of curious global wanderers. It reigns atop our world cities ranking because it excels in all six of our main categories. Unsurprisingly, it ranks #1 in our Promotion category, an index that measure the quantity of stories, references, and recommendations shared online about a city.
So when should you go? Right now. In January and February the city is at its quietest—and possibly at its most affordable. The famous sales are ongoing at top shopping venues and many hotels offer reductions at this time of year. Even better, iconic cultural sites, attractions and museums are quieter than usual, which means you breeze right in to the National Gallery. No lines, no crowds.
For something entirely different to London’s shopping and dining scene, head to Kings Cross development, Coal Drops Yard. Set canalside and featuring cobbled streets, Victorian architecture and beautiful new public squares as a backdrop, Coal Drops Yard offers an unexpected mix of independent and signature shops, plus specially programmed happenings, events, and more than a few culinary musts.
After all, the best experiences are shared. At least, that’s the motto at Hicce, a new Coal Drops Yard restaurant that takes its name for a Latin word that means “current, of the moment.” The menu highlights chef Pip Lacey’s (previously of Michelin-starred Murano) passion and skill for using barbecue as a fuel source to grill, steam and smoke fish, meat and veggies. Another exciting debut in the neighborhood is Coal Office, a food and design collaboration between ex-Palomar chef Assaf Granit and designer Tom Dixon.
New York’s Monumental Year
WHY NOW? For the first time, World Pride will be held in the U.S., with NYC the host.
HOW IT RANKS #1 for Google Trends and Instagram Hashtags; #2 for Facebook Check-ins; #4 Google Search Results and TripAdvisor Reviews
WHEN TO GO June
In 2017, NYC & Company introduced the global tourism campaign titled True York City to incite travelers to discover the iconic experiences of the city along with lesser-known locations. A website, Famous Original NYC and the hashtag #TrueYorkCity showcased the city in its glorious and gritty glory, along with stories, photos, a video series and user-generated social content. Last year, the tourism board introduced “2019: A Monumental Year,” a new global communications program campaign reflecting additions across the city and showcasing under-the-radar hotels, attractions, dining and retail spaces.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. the riots that followed a police raid at Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn and gave birth to the modern gay rights movement. And NYC is hosting the month-long event, World Pride, in June.
Some three million visitors are expected to experience “Millions of Moments of Pride” during celebrations, screenings, rallies parties and lectures throughout June, culminating in the Pride March on June 30. And because this is New York, loud and proud will reach new heights, likely to eclipse last year’s 550 marching contingents and more than 100 floats.
World Pride is but one draw this year, when 65.1 million visitors are expected to visit. Need some ideas? Spend the day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (go on a weekday morning, when there’s less foot traffic) in the company of iconic works of art by Jackson Pollock, Walker Evans, Goya and others. Or go on a Friday evening, billed as “New York’s Night Out,” when the museum features special tours and cultural events, such as jazz performances. Walk the High Line, the 1.45-mile-long freight rail that a decade ago was transformed into an elevated, mixed-use public park. Grab a bite at Eataly, the gourmet Italian market and food hall loved by locals and visitors alike. Pluck a book from the towering stacks that fill the Strand Book Store. Shop at the Dover Street Market, where fashion meets art in an exhibition space. Take the ferry to Governors Island to catch a music festival, a pop-up dinner, an art exhibit or just to wander the parks. People-watch at Washington Square Park, a 10-acre space filled with musicians, performers, students, chess players, sunbathers and (of course) Instagrammers.
There’s a reason New York’s classics are classics. Do one, do them all.
Paris Is Always A Good Idea
WHY NOW? Paris is back, setting visitor records as the shroud of terrorism from the past few years has lifted.
HOW IT RANKS #2 Google Search Results; #3 for TripAdvisor Reviews and Facebook Check-ins; #4 for Google Trends; and #5 for Instagram Hashtags.
WHEN TO GO February
If there’s a more romantic city than Paris, we sure can’t think of it. The cobblestone streets, the accordion players on the Metro, the moonlight cruise down the Seine, the little cafes around every corner in Montmartre. Surely, it’s enough to just be in the City of Lights on February 14th with a special someone.
Sure, February is cold but if you don’t mind chilly and damp weather, it’s a great time to explore Paris. The season’s dip in tourism means shorter queues and lighter crowds; and you might even find a great deal on airfare and accommodations. Such as at the recently reopened Hôtel de Crillon. The Rosewood Hotel survived the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Empire and its occupation as a Nazi headquarters. The current buzz is all about the $234-million reno of Hotel Lutetia, the Left Bank legend that inspired visiting artists and bards since 1910, including, rumor has it, James Joyce’s Ulysses. Until March 30, the hotel is featuring a special offer that includes a guided tour of the Left Bank to experience the hidden secrets only Parisians know about.
The city finished #4 globally in our Shopping subcategory, behind only New York, London and Tokyo. That ranking is set to improve as shopping streets are being identified, scrubbed and sprinkled with additional police presence. A “Made in Paris” label is a gateway into local shopkeepers playing tour guides, leading buyers to the city’s makers and artisans and the ateliers where they ply their trades.
WHY NOW? An alluring blend of over-the-top architecture and Arab heritage, Bedouin culture, traditional souks and luxury shopping, Dubai rises from the golden sands like a mirage.
HOW IT RANKS #4 for Instagram Hashtags; #5 for Facebook Check-ins; #13 for Google Trends; #14 for TripAdvisor Reviews; #74 for Google Search Results.
WHEN TO GO March, November or early December
Religiously tolerant, socially liberal and future-forward, the capital of modern Arabia has become a brand—one that many in the Western hemisphere can understand, buy into and visit. By 2020 when it hosts the World Expo, the emirate aims to attract 20 million visitors per year, doubling the number it welcomed in 2012.
Our top-ranked city in the Middle East, Dubai welcomed 15.8 million international overnight visitors in 2017 (6.5% higher than the previous year). So what’s there to do once you get here? You could ride the elevator to the top of world’s tallest building for a bird’s eye view. You could bet on the ponies at the world’s richest horse race, or pose for photos in front of the world’s tallest choreographed fountains. You could check into the world’s only seven-star property or shop in the most visited mall on the planet. Yes, it’s all here, in the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates. Is there such a thing as too many superlatives? Not in Dubai.
In the past year the emirate’s tourism marketing strategy changed when it realized that the main draw for tourists isn’t high-end resorts and luxury shopping but “real” experiences.
So if you go, yes pose for photos at the top of the Burj Khalifa but also explore the emerging art scenes in Dubai Design District (d3) and Alserkal Avenue, the heritage villages and natural landscapes of Hatta, on the border with Oman. And if you go in March, definitely add Dubai Food Festival to your list.
When In Rome
WHY NOW? The Eternal City is made for meandering—refuelling—and meandering again.
HOW IT RANKS #2 for TripAdvisor Reviews; #9 for Google Trends; #12 for Instagram Hashtags; #22 for Facebook Check-ins; #61 for Google Search Results.
WHEN TO GO Mid-March and April
“How is it possible to say an unkind or irreverential word of Rome? The city of all time, and of all the world!” the American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne wondered. More than a century later there’s much to be said about the city, which lands at #5 in our Promotion category. A quick search on Instagram for #VisitRome turns up thousands of posts from visitors and locals alike in the Palazzo della Sapienza, in the Colosseum, wandering the ancient city streets, eating gelato. “If I’m in Rome for only 48 hours, I would consider it a sin against God to not eat cacio e pepe, the most uniquely Roman of pastas, in some crummy little joint where Romans eat,” said the late Anthony Bourdain. “That’s Rome to me.”
Rome to us means a visit to the architectural majesty that is St. Peter’s Basilica, which houses Bernini’s stunning altarpiece and Michelangelo’s Pietà. Shopping the city’s legendary Via dei Condotti and climbing the famous steps of Piazza di Spagna. No visit to Rome is complete without exploring the Roman Forum and the Colosseum, which sees nearly 4 million people annually and almost as many hashtags across social media channels. Avoid waiting in line by purchasing tickets in advance. We recommend a combined ticket to the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and Palatine Hill.
Legend has it that anyone who throws a coin in the Trevi Fountain will return to Rome. Best play it safe and throw a couple. Whatever you do, visit early in the morning or late at night when the crowds disperse.
Singapore Your Heart Out
WHY NOW? Asia’s financial powerhouse turns its ambitions to livability and innovation.
HOW IT RANKS #5 for Google Search Results and Google Trends; #11 for Facebook Check-ins; #19 for TripAdvisor Reviews; #22 for Instagram Hashtags.
WHEN TO GO May or June during the slightly drier summer season.
Back in 2017, Singapore unveiled “Passion Made Possible,” aiming for a unified brand that could be used across all campaigns to market to tourists and businesses. The following year, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) brought the brand to life by celebrating Singapore’s people, talent and stories through marketing campaigns, consumer events and industry partnerships. Accompanied by a hashtag, the STB’s marketing efforts for the brand quickly accumulated a global audience reach of over 555 million and close to 300 million video views. But nothing could quite have anticipated the impact that the Hollywood blockbuster, Crazy Rich Asians, would have on tourism to the city-island nation.
Travel searches for Singapore exploded after the movie premiered back in August 2018, with fans looking to soak in some of Singapore’s real-life glitz and glamour. According to Orbitz, searches for Singapore soared a whopping 110 versus the previous year and inquiries spiked 20 percent in the week after the movie’s premiere.
From high-end boutiques on Asia’s most famous shopping street, Orchard Road, to the world’s largest infinity pool and the Lion City’s famous outdoor stalls selling a medley of Asian street cuisines, the film does a great job promoting Singapore’s most iconic and luxurious hotspots.
WHEN TO GO Open all hours with an always-full dance card, Spain’s capital is Europe’s city that doesn’t sleep.
HOW IT RANKS #3 for Google Trends; #8 for TripAdvisor Reviews; #17 for Google Search Results; #21 for Instagram Hashtags; #23 for Facebook Check-ins.
WHEN TO GO May and October
In Madrid, everything old is new again. With oodles of investment, the Spanish capital is finally tapping into its long dormant city-building potential. Take, for example, Mercado de San Fernando. Once a traditional covered market, it has been converted into a hub not just for food and drink—there’s plenty of that and we recommend you stop for tapas at Bond 40—but also for a variety of activities, from dance performances and lectures to tango and cooking classes to DJ sessions that kick off the weekend. Nearby is La Casa Encendida, an early 20th-century building styled in Neo-Moorish architecture that has become a hotspot for concerts, lectures and exhibitions.
But the unveiling that locals are eagerly awaiting is the grand Edificio España, mostly empty for the better part of a decade since the financial crisis and set to reopen this summer as a luxury hotel and fresh street-level retail. Part of the redevelopment includes a much-needed reimagining of the facing Plaza de España’s concrete dead zone that will finally embrace its place in the heart of the city.
The world is already taking notice, with the Spanish capital landing at #7 in our Promotion category, including a third-place overall finish among Google Trends and Top 10 for TripAdvisor Reviews. A quick search on Instagram turns up more than 30 million posts, proving that Madrid’s ascent will continue in the years ahead as it—and spellbound others—tell her story.
Resonance Consultancy scores the world’s best cities based on six metrics: Place, Product, Programming, People, Prosperity, and Promotion. But for the purpose of creating our Buzziest Cities of 2019, we focused on the Promotion category, which looks at the quantity of stories, references, and recommendations shared online about a city.
Within the Promotion category, we examined the following sub-categories:
Google Search – The total number of Google search results measures the amount of media coverage, online articles, and references.
Google Trends – Google Trends shows the online popularity of each city by measuring how often the city is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages in the past 12 months.
Instagram Mentions – The most Instagrammed city based on mentions and hashtags, in English and the local language.
Facebook Check-ins – The total number of Facebook check-ins.
TripAdvisor Reviews – The total number of reviews on TripAdvisor.com, positive and negative.