Where to go, what to do and see in 2019: This year's 52 hottest things in travel

 From a spectacular cruise ship with all the bells and whistles, to a bijou inn in Hawaii, 2019 is a year of exciting travel possibilities. We've scoured the globe for the best of the new and the now to offer a list that goes from the sublime – a a year of celebration in Berlin to mark the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus – to the ridiculously fun: a new Jurassic Park feature at Universal Studios. Across the gamut of travel interests: hotels, ships, buildings, festivals, airports, art galleries, food, drink and more, here's a taste of what the year in travel has in store.

DESTINATIONS

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

Lonely Planet listed the Danish capital as its top city to visit in 2019 for good reason. A flourishing food scene boosted by the new market at Refshaleoen and a new Noma will be joined by the new Carlsberg brewery precinct. Late in the year, Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen's globally significant art museum, will reopen after a two-year renovation. See visitcopenhagen.com

UZBEKISTAN

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Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

Of all the 'stans, landlocked Uzbekistan is most enthusiastically putting out the welcome mat, with increased air service and a fast train to UNESCO World Heritage Samarkand as well as relaxed visa requirements. Wendy Wu is one operator venturing into the historically rich country and wider Central Asia. See wendywutours.com.au

BERLIN, GERMANY

It is all happening in Deutschland. The 100th anniversary of the hugely influential art and design school Bauhaus sees events throughout the year as well as the opening of a new museum. This year is also the 30thanniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with commemorations to include the 100 Miles Berlin run, along the path of the former edifice. See visitBerlin.de

THE PHILIPPINES

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Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

As the Australian-born Miss Philippines took the crown of Miss Universe this year, so her country took its own, voted as Asia's best beach location in the World Travel Awards. It's still cheap and in August 2018, Philippine Airlines added non-stop flights between Manila and Melbourne. See tourismphilippines.com.au

ARMENIA

The US-based Travel + Leisure magazine put this bucolically blessed Eurasian country on its own 2019 list, citing a revitalised tourism energy as a result of a new, more liberal government. The capital, Yerevan, also has just got its first upmarket international hotel, The Alexander, part of Marriott's Luxury Collection.

HOTELS

RAFFLES, SINGAPORE

Raffles Hotel, Singapore.
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After a massive 12-plus-month reno, a stellar line up of famous chefs are putting their names to its restaurants and the famous Long Bar – home to the Singapore Sling – lovingly restored, is already open, But there's more to love: the 1889 hotel's myriad new suite types are designed to make the most of the National Monument's many charms. See raffles.com

AMERIKALINJEN, OSLO, NORWAY

While a decidedly modern project, this independent hotel in the old Norwegian America Line HQ pays homage to the nautical spirit of both the building and the city. Details include the reproduction of glassware used on mid-century ships. Expect maritime elegance when it opens in April. See amerikalinjen.com

INTERCONTINENTAL SHANGHAI WONDERLAND, CHINA

This 336-room hotel took more than 10 years to develop – that's because it inhabits an abandoned quarry at the base of the Sheshan Mountain range, outside Shanghai. With just two floors above ground and 15under, including two that sit below the old mine's waterline, it's a feat of engineering and determination. See intercontinental.com

ROSEWOOD, HONG KONG, CHINA

In March, the Rosewood opens, occupying 42 floors of a 65-storey centrepiece to the redevelopment of Hong Kong's Victoria Dockside. Promising a new luxury benchmark in a city already well serviced in that department, it will feature the largest and highest number of luxury suites in the city with more than 80 per cent of accommodation offering harbour views. See rosewoodhotels.com

HARD ROCK HOTEL, LONDON, ENGLAND

In a rock star location close to Marble Arch and Hyde Park, the 900-room, lacklustre Cumberland creaked with history – and it was the last address of guitar god, Jimi Hendrix. That's fitting, because the property is now London's first Hard Rock hotel, with a sexy do-over worthy of its glamorous address. See hardrockhotels.com

BULGARI HOTEL, MOSCOW

A mere stroll to the Kremlin and the Red Square and adjacent to the Moscow State Conservatory P. I. Tchaikovsky, the next Bulgari-branded ultra-luxury hotel will have 65 rooms and suites, but the real jewel will be the 300-square metre Bulgari Suite with a private 600-square metre rooftop terrace looking out onto those landmarks.

FAIRMONT CENTURY PLAZA, LOS ANGELES

The 1966, Minoru Yamasaki-designed curved form of the old Century Plaza hotel will remain despite a multi-billion-dollar redevelopment of the site upon which it sits: the former backlot of 20th Century Fox. But when the hotel component of the redevelopment reopens this year, it will be a Fairmont. Celebrities, royalty and US presidents have graced the mid-century halls. Expect more of the same.

RESORTS

APURVA KEMPINSKI, BALI, INDONESIA

Kempinski Hotels' second Indonesian property is a 475-room resort in Nusa Dua, Bali, promising theatre and luxury. Architects Denton Corker Marshall and Trivium design Group have created a mix of Indonesian tradition and glam modern resort with two swimming pools, a substantial spa and wellness offering, and all-important ocean adjacency. It's scheduled for a first quarter opening. See kempinski.com

AVANI+ SAMUI, KOH SAMUI, THAILAND

The fast-growing Avani brand, aimed firmly at Millennials, takes a step forward with an upscale Thai resort, the second bearing the Avani+ moniker, signifying something special afoot. With an emphasis on nature and eco principles, the resort hideaway on a secluded bay has 25 guestrooms, 27 private pool villas and six beachfront pool villas. See avanihotels.com

DAYDREAM ISLAND, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA

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After delays and budget blowouts, the much loved Whitsundays island resort, which was forced to close after Cyclone Debbie, welcomes back guests from April 10, with what many saw as a much needed refurbishment even before the disaster. It has 277 rooms and suites, new choices in signature dining, bars and an underwater observatory. See daydreamisland.com

WHITE SANDS HOTEL, HAWAII, US

Nostalgia and a yearning for the simpler things drive the new look for this 1960s' affordable throwback, one of the few walk-up hotel-motels left in Waikiki. Featuring fun twists on mid-century style and an F&B concept by the popular local Fete restaurant group including a hot tub by the bar, it's a funky budget alternative. See aquaaston.com

HAYMAN ISLAND INTERCONTINENTAL, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA

Another Whitsundays victim of Cyclone Debbie gets a new lease of life. Opening mid-year as an Intercontinental, the 166-room hotel has undergone a $100 million redevelopment, promising world-class luxury across its offerings including new food and beverage experiences and a kids' club. Arrive by luxury vessel, helicopter or seaplane. See ihg.com

CULTURE

STATUE OF LIBERTY MUSEUM, NEW YORK, US

It's a big year in New York City, a beacon of which is this new Ellis Island museum. Heightened security meant few were getting into the existing little museum beneath the statue. The new much bigger facility has three gallery spaces dedicated to the history of the monument with exhibits including her original torch. See libertyellisfoundation.org

EUROPEAN CAPITALS OF CULTURE

The ancient cave town of Matera in southern Italy is the joint 2019 Capital of Culture alongside Plovdiv in Bulgaria. With a tourism boom, Matera locals are keen to keep visitor numbers sustainable (they're looking at you as what not to do, Venice and Florence). But Bulgaria is a destination with the welcome light on. See ec.europa.eu

PETRA MUSEUM, JORDAN

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With hotels, restaurants and a new theatre and convention centre in the pipeline, Jordan's so-called Rose City is set to offer an enhanced experience beyond the stunning Petra Archaeological Park. Across eight galleries, the new interactive Petra Museum will offer insight into the history and culture of the site. See visitpetra.jo

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF QATAR

After many delays, Qatar's showpiece is set to open in March. The 52,000-square-metre facility will tell the story of the rise of this oil-rich nation. It's housed in a building inspired by the desert sand rose, designed by the much awarded and lauded French architect, Jean Nouvel. See qm.org.qa

MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON, TEXAS, US

One of the largest museums in the US is becoming larger, with a $US450 million campus redevelopment. It contains more than 65,000 works of art spanning 6000 years. It's the crowning glory of a burgeoning art scene in a city. See mfah.org

ARCHITECTURE

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM, UK

Europe's longest bar and largest football merchandise store are just some of the features of this near 63,000-seater in North London, the first stadium in the world with a retractable real-turf surface. The brief called for meticulous attention to detail and the Populous design delivers in spades. It will start hosting games this year. See tottenhamhotspur.com

ACADEMY MUSEUM OF MOTION PICTURES, LOS ANGELES, US

Conceived by Renzo Piano in collaboration with Gensler, LA's new museum will be a striking spherical structure designed to provide visitors with dramatic views. As well as documenting Tinsel Town's mainstay industry, the immersive, entertaining and educational museum will include a large movie theatre and an open-air terrace. It will open by the end of the year. See academymuseum.org

LUMA ARLES, FRANCE

Frank Gehry has caused controversy yet again with his audacious vision: the LUMA Arles art complex. Well advanced and taking shape in abandoned rail yards near the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Arles, it's divided opinion. It won't open till early 2020, but the amazing 56-metre, aluminium-clad tower, designed to resemble local rock formations, is already a showstopper in itself. See luma-arles.org

HUDSON YARDS, NEW YORK, US

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At the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States, several mixed use skyscrapers by various renowned architectural firms are completion as is the complex's retail and restaurant facilities and its vast public squares and gardens. See hudsonyardsnewyork.com

CALGARY CENTRAL LIBRARY, CANADA

In recent times, Alberta's so-called Cow Town has welcomed starchitects leaving a mark, from the Calatrava-designed Peace Bridge to the Willis Tower by SOM Architects. The new library building by Snohetta and Dialogue may trump them all, hailed by Architectural Digest and others for its ambition and style. See calgarylibrary.ca

AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS

JEWEL CHANGI AIRPORT, SINGAPORE

Those who already think Singapore's Changi is the best airport in the world, prepare to be wowed. The Jewel is a vast pod that not only links terminals one, two and three, but is an airconditioned indoor garden, home to shopping, dining and Yotelair, a funky airside hotel concept with meeting spaces and 130"cabins". See jewelchangiairport.com

LATAM, SOUTH AMERICA

As of January 1, LATAM Airlines Group has increased direct flights between Melbourne and Santiago, Chile, from three to five per week, in response to growing demand for travel to South America. The route gives access to LATAM's South American network of more than 120 destinations. The airline also flies Sydney-Auckland-Santiago return, seven times a week. See latam.com

LAGUARDIA AIRPORT, NEW YORK, US

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Photo: GRIMSHAW ARCHITECTS

Rated the worst airport in America, New York's LaGuardia, which services 31 million passengers a year, has just unveiled its new Terminal B concourse, part of an $8 billion makeover that will eventually include six new concourses, 72 gates and better transport links. Meanwhile, JFK will undergo a $13 billion transformation by 2025 and Newark is also getting a new terminal. See laguardiaairport.com

DAXING AIRPORT, BEIJING, CHINA

Turkey's recently opened airport is the largest in the world but by end 2019, it will be the second largest, as China's eight-runway, 1-million-square-metre Daxing opens to an anticipated 100 million passengers a year. The Zaha Hadid-designed facility is due to open October 1, joining Beijing International to handle China's increasingly mobile population.

BIOMETRICS

A test program of biometric identification is being carried out across the first half of 2019, on flights between Dallas/Fort Worth and London. A collaboration between American Airlines, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Hilton and MSC Cruises, the tech will be used at airport security and check in. LATAM and Emirates have also made forays into biometrics.

EVENTS

RUGBY WORLD CUP, JAPAN

Japan hosts Asia's first Rugby World Cup this year and the Japanese are taking the tournament to heart as enthusiastic preparations across the 12 host cities crank up to welcome 400,000 visitors. A warm up for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but big news itself, it kicks off on September 20 and runs for seven weeks. See rugbyworldcup.com

DA VINCI 500

Commemorating the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, come October, at the Uffizi in Florence, see The Leicester Codex of Leonardo da Vinci: Water as Microscope of Nature, based around da Vinci's astonishing 72-page Codex, on loan from Bill Gates for the occasion. There are more events in Turin, Rome and Milan, home of The Last Supper. See uffizi.it

LIECHTENSTEIN 300

To mark the 300th anniversary of the principality of Liechtenstein, the tiny landlocked European nation has given a gift to the world. May marks the official launch of the Liechtenstein Trail, a hiking and biking trail that connects all the country's municipalities and features castles, cottages, villages and vistas. See tourismus.li

STONEWALL 50

New York City's Pride celebrations this year commemorate the 50th anniversary of the landmark Stonewall Uprising. For the first time, World Pride will also be celebrated concurrently in New York. It spans the entire month of June and features 50events, across politics, arts and culture, and of course, partying. See 2019-worldwide-stonewall50; nycpride.org

GRAND CANYON 100

On February 26, the US celebrates 100 years of the Grand Canyon as a national park. Celebrations include working with 11associated indigenous tribes to tell their stories and days dedicated to aspects of canyon history, including performances by the Tucson Symphony, a fee-free day and ranger events. See nps.gov

CRUISING

CELEBRITY FLORA

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When she debuts in May, Celebrity Cruises' luxury yacht in the Galapagos Islands, Celebrity Flora will offer glamping at sea.

The 100-guest all-suite beauty's top deck willfeature sleeping and dining cabanas where experiences include sunrise breakfast and observing the night sky with the guidance of a naturalist. See celebritycruises.com.au

SCENIC ECLIPSE

While the launch of the much-anticipated Scenic Eclipse has been delayed in the Croatian shipyard where she is being built, the luxury discovery yacht is set to finally make her debut this year. The six-star, 228-passenger explorer featuring a helicopter and a submarine will sail on April13. Her sister ship, Scenic Eclipse II, ison track for a 2020 launch. See scenic.com.au

SPECTRUM OF THE SEAS

Carrying 5622 guests, Royal Caribbean's first Quantum Ultra Class Ship is flashy and fun. She includes a two-storey, 11-person, 260-square-metre family suite with its own 3D cinema, and a private area for all suite guests that comes with an exclusive swimming pool, restaurant and elevator. She debuts in Asian waters come autumn. See royalcaribbean.com.au

CARNIVAL PANORAMA

Carnival Cruise Line's first California-based ship in 20 years will include a water park and a trampoline park developed in partnership with Sky Zone. The 4008-passenger Carnival Panorama is the third of the Vista-class series, Carnival Cruise Line's largest. She is scheduled to debut out of Long Beach in December 2019. See carnival.com.au

EMERALD HARMONY

August sees Evergreen Cruises' new river ship Emerald Harmony take to the Mekong. The Star-Ship's innovative design means she can cruise right into the centre of Ho Chi Minh City, a point of difference in a well-serviced market. She has suites with wraparound terraces and private hot tubs. See evergreentours.com.au

FOOD AND DRINK

KUMIKO, CHICAGO, US

The bar scene in the Windy City has always been great, but not necessarily upmarket. That's changed. And the prospect of a new Japanese-inspired drinking den, to open early 2019, has locals salivating. It's a partnership between star bartender Julia Momose and Noah and Cara Sandoval, of the much-loved fine diner, Oriole. See barkumiko.com

COVENT GARDEN, LONDON, ENGLAND

Over-touristy in the late 20th century, London's old fruit, veg and flower quarter is now home to fabulous shopping, and of late, is returning to its foodie roots. Attracted by glorious streetscapes and architecture, a slew of eateries are moving in, including a bakery by American cronut creator, Dominique Ansel and an outpost of Taiwan's famed Din Tai Fung. The Royal Opera House has a new restaurant in its listed balconies.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA, US

A few years of being named among the top foodie cities in the US (and by some, the world) has not made Atlanta rest on its laurels. Big name chefs and audacious newcomers are adding to the culinary scene's richness. New to town, the rooftop bar at the snazzy Clermont, a once down-at-heel motor inn turned pet-friendly hive of hip. See atlanta.net ; hotelclermont.com

FIJI

The evolution of eating in Fiji continues with resort chefs upping the ante in line with global standards and expectations, especially at the high end. Six Senses Fiji has a new Wellness Kitchen, serving gluten-free baked goods, homemade kombucha and cocktails using spirits such as house-made gin infused with aromatics including lavalaya, bush lemon and kumquat – all locally sourced and foraged. See sixsenses.com

TOKYO FISH MARKET, JAPAN

The world's most famous fish market has relocated. The 83-year-old, open-air Tsukiji was congested and lacked airconditioning and refrigeration. Most of the 500-plus traders have moved to the new Toyoso fish market in Koto Ward. Visitors can still view the tuna auction, only now, instead of on a first-come basis, it's via a ticket lottery.

ATTRACTIONS

TWA HOTEL,NEW YORK, US

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Flight nerds rejoice: 2019 marks the opening of the much-anticipated TWA Hotel by Beyer Blinder Belle and Lubrano Ciavarra Architects in the landmark 1962 TWA Flight Centre at JFK Airport. The complete refurbishment features 512 guest rooms with interiors by Stonehill Taylor that go for a thoroughly Mad Men vibe. No smoking allowed, but there is an in-room cocktail bar, complete with martini glasses. See twahotel.com

STAR WARS LAND, ORLANDO, FLORIDA, US

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Photo: Disney

While the Star Wars experience at Disneyland Resort is expanded and upgraded, a brand new counterpart is under development at Orlando's Walt Disney World. Called Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, the 5.7-hectare world is the Disneyland Resort's biggest expansion. It opens mid-year. The Orlando world is expected late 2019. See disneyparks.disney.go.com

GAME OF THRONES, NORTHERN IRELAND

Game of Thrones may be on its final season, but fans still have a great deal to look forward to. There's already an unofficial Game of Thrones trail along Northern Ireland's wild coast. But after a decade of filming in the country, HBO has announced it will turn sets into visitor attractions. See discovernorthernireland.com

JURASSIC WORLD, LOS ANGELES, US

After more than 20 years, Universal Studios in LA shut down its Jurassic Park Ride to make way for Jurassic World. It's still under wraps, but Universal promises "never-before-seen dinosaurs, enhanced storytelling, lush scenic design, an entirely new colour scheme and uncompromised state-of the art technology".

SILVERSTONE EXPERIENCE, NORTHHAMPTONSHIRE, UK

Rev heads and history buffs will love the Silverstone Experience, housed in a World War II Wellington Bomber hangar at the entrance to the famous Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire, Britain. Opening June 1, the 4000-square-metre space will house interactive displays and an immersive show, The Ultimate Lap of Silverstone, narrated by esteemed F1 commentator, Murray Walker. See Silverstone-experience.co.uk

TEN ISSUES AND INITIATIVES IN 2019

MAPPING RISK AND REWARD

The 2019 Travel Risk Map has revealed the lowest and highest risk countries in which to travel. There is also a Medical Risk Map and Road Safety Risk Map. See travelriskmap.com

THE IMPACT OF OVERTOURISM

The effects of overtourism are well noted. Now, a KPMG study has warned there are signs of it in the Hungarian capital, Budapest. Overtourism is where large visitor numbers affect the quality of life of locals and the natural values of the country.

THE SEARCH FOR ALTERNATIVES

With overcrowding a problem in some locations, the "where next" question is leading us to alternatives: "secondary cities", "the new" or "instead of" places that reflect another destination's charms without the crowds.

THE AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR

Forecasts are for the Australian dollar to spend plenty of time valued under 70¢ US in 2019. Turkey, Argentina and Russia are among the destinations giving good value for the AUD.

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY

Operators are asking guests to play a part in environmental causes. For example, Finnair is offering customers the chance to offset CO2 emissions by supporting biofuels. See finnair.com

BEING MORE SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS

The Millennial desire to have a holiday spend that is ethical and sustainable is resulting in new product and new standards. See intrepidtravel.com

TAKING CARE OF OUR CULTURAL FOOTPRINT

G Adventures is leading the way in addressing our cultural footprint with a new child welfare charter that asks us to be mindful of how we treat children: photographing, handing out gifts and normalising certain scenarios. See gadventures.com.au

ADOPTING A CHARITABLE CAUSE

Giving to a cause while travelling is giving to yourself. Huma Charity Challenge, the fundraising arm of World Expeditions, has raised more than $5 million for charity in five years. See humacharitychallenge.com

THE RISE OF THE MICROBREAK

Time-poor Millennials have led the microbreak charge. It's a mini-holiday, be it a weekend on its own or one with a leave day or two combined. See aptouring.com.au ; shortbreakshawaii.com.au

HILTON TURNS 100

As the Hilton marks 100 years in 2019, prepare for discount rates, special inclusions and community events across its vast network. See hilton.com

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