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As 2022 comes to a close and Covid-19 travel restrictions ease worldwide, plenty of countries are gearing up to welcome record numbers of visitors, ramping up cultural and tourist activities. From the newly re-opened pristine beaches of Thailand, to the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, a number of new happenings are slated to excite even the most jaded of travellers. Here is a selection of cities on our radar for 2023:

Casablanca, others, Morocco

Photo: Fondation Jardin Majorelle
Photo: Fondation Jardin Majorelle

Besides being in the news for football notoriety – team Morocco had an exceptionally good run at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar this year – the North African country has plenty to offer especially the classic cities of Casablanca, Marrakech and Tangier.

Lying at the foot of the Strait of Gibraltar bordering Spain, the country is a veritable melting pot of Arab, European and many other influences, due to its many conquests. Aside from its proximity to Spain and its magnificent Moorish castles, Morocco is home to plenty architectural and cultural sites.

Plenty open air markets, The Majorelle Garden in Marrakech, owned by designer Yves Saint Laurent, Kasbah of the Oudayas, historic mosques and much more, the country is bound to offer a multi-sensory experience especially for history and archaeology buffs.

A new Nobu hotel is set to open in 2023.

Bangkok, Thailand

Tourists visit Maya bay after Thailand reopened its world-famous beach after closing it for more than three years to allow its ecosystem to recover from the impact of overtourism, at Krabi province, Thailand. Photo: Reuters
Tourists visit Maya bay after Thailand reopened its world-famous beach after closing it for more than three years to allow its ecosystem to recover from the impact of overtourism, at Krabi province, Thailand. Photo: Reuters

A perennial favorite, the country lifted COVID-related restrictions including proof of vaccination or a pre-departure COVID test.

Thailand saw 10.9mn tourist arrivals so far this year

Whether it is to relax at one of many luxurious resorts, catch some sun in Koh Samui or marvel at the multitude of ornate temples in Thailand, the country and its islands have plenty to offer — not to mention the delicious food, and heady shopping.

If a relaxing spa trip is on the agenda, check out the award-winning Chiva-Som in Thailand, a pioneering spa and wellness destination and also voted ‘Top Destination Spa Resort in the World’ by Condé Nast Traveler '2021 Readers’ Choice Awards'.

Giza, Egypt

A camel guide waits for customers next to the pyramid of Khafre or 'Chefren' at the Giza pyramids plateau in Giza, Egypt. Photo: Reuters
A camel guide waits for customers next to the pyramid of Khafre or 'Chefren' at the Giza pyramids plateau in Giza, Egypt. Photo: Reuters

Fresh off the high-profile United Nations Climate Summit, COP 27 held in Sharm-el Shaikh, Egypt has a few projects slated to be completed in 2023.

The Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza is finally set to open next year. Being hailed as the largest archaeological space according to some reports, the museum is set to showcase objects excavated from Tutankhamun’s tomb amongst other priceless artifacts.

Further touristic draws include the return of artefacts from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as the relocation of the nation’s collection of royal mummies to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo.

Other favourites to take in include the Nile River cruise and the myriad of pyramids and historical sites to explore.

Sharjah, UAE

Another gulf state on the rise due to its artistic and cultural pursuits along with a slate of arty new hotels, the emirates' third most populous city is getting ready to welcome a host of new travellers for a myriad of events in 2023.

New galleries from the Sharjah Arts Foundation along with architectural buildings such as the House of Wisdom library designer by Foster + Partners are a sight to see, along with the Sharjah Biennial which is slated to open in February, on its 30th anniversary, with works from more than 150 artists from 70 countries.

The Sharjah Architecture Triennial is also on the horizon. The city was also featured on Conde Nast Traveller's 'The 23 best places to go in 2023.'

Lake Como, Italy

Photo: Villa d'Este
Photo: Villa d'Este

Set against the foothills of the alps, this stunning Northern Italy locale by the lake has seen a slew of new hotels open after the pandemic. Equal parts stunning and serene, Lake Como is in proximity to many tiny towns and villages which can easily be accessed on a boat excursion or on foot.

Aside from this, many historic and stately villas are worth exploring. Overlooking the water, many have also been converted into hotels. Villa Balbianello, Villa Monastero and Villa Melzi and the stunning Villa d'Este with its famous terraced gardens are just a few such historic mansions.

Among new hotels that have opened are the recently refurbished Passalaqua, a historic estate constructed in 1767 by Count Andrea Lucini-Passalacqua, just north of Cernobbio. As a private home, this18th century villa has also hosted the likes of Napoleon and Winston Churchill.

April and October are considered optimal months to visit as its not as overrun by tourists and provides for a more authentic experience.

Wellington, New Zealand

A sailing boat can be seen in front of the central business district of Wellington in New Zealand. Photo: Reuters
A sailing boat can be seen in front of the central business district of Wellington in New Zealand. Photo: Reuters

Making headlines the world over due to its strict COVID-policies, the maori island nation is set to welcome a fresh slew of foreign visitors in the coming year.

Its pristine beaches and stunning landscape along with ski resorts all make for a great well rounded getaway. New Zealand is also a foodie nation, with excellent food, artisanal coffee and vineyards.

The popular Lantern Festival will be held in February 2023 to celebrate Chinese New Year. Pasifika, the largest Pacific Island cultural festival in the world, is returning in March 2023. In July, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 will be held in nine cities across New Zealand and Australia.

Fiji Islands, Fiji

An archipelago of more than 300 islands, this country in the South Pacific in close proximity to New Zealand – also featured on the list – is home to lush beaches, mountains, volcanic peaks, rainforests and busy urban pockets.

For those looking for a relaxing island expedition, this is the spot. Island hopping, trekking, and driving through the stunning landscape are highly recommended. The most popular islands include Viti Levu and Vanua Levu which are popular with most travellers, and all offer an array of activities such as snorkelling, golfing and more.

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