Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 23
British Airways is launching new routes this year to hot destinations including Costa Rica, Lima in Peru and San Jose, in California's heart of Silicon Valley
New routes and old favourites dominate British Airways' eagerly awaited annual list of predictions for 2016 holiday hot-spots.
Top travel experts at British Airways have scoured the world looking for the latest hot-to-trot destinations for the year ahead for travellers from the Middle East and selected 10 of the top picks for 2016.
According to British Airways, interest in exotic Costa Rica is rocketing with wildlife galore for adventurers of all ages, eager to explore the country's rainforests and relax on its stunning beaches. Lima, in Peru is also attracting increasing numbers of discerning travellers, keen to walk the world-famous Inca Trail and see the stunning ruins of Machu Picchu. British Airways flights to both look set to open Central and South America to a whole new generation of travellers.
Rio de Janeiro in Brazil stays firmly on the map for leisure travellers, with the Olympics and Paralympics making it a must-see destination for 2016. Hi-tech, social media-savvy business travellers and California- dreaming holidaymakers are both set to find their way to San José, thanks to British Airways' new daily flights to the capital of Silicon Valley.
But popular European destinations mean British Airways customers in the Middle East don't need to fly far to enjoy fun in the sun on a different continent.
Paolo De Renzis, Head of Sales for the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia said: "Sifting through scores of destinations around the world to choose the 10 we believe will make brilliant business routes and unbeatable holiday destinations for British Airways customers is no easy task! Thanks to our extensive worldwide network we have top travel experts in almost every corner of globe, with unrivalled experience of the countries that we fly to. Our shortlist plays a part in the detailed planning for our new routes this year, which includes rugged Costa Rica, fascinating Lima in Peru and San José in California's heart of Silicon Valley.
"We think we have a brilliant mix of new and ever-popular destinations that we believe will be a hit for holidaymakers from the Middle East in 2016, whatever kind of break they're looking for and however big their budget."
Top long haul destinations in 2016 predicted for travellers from the Middle East include...
With the world-famous Inca Trail and the incredible citadel of Machu Picchu, there's nowhere quite like Peru. Its rich cultural heritage make it one of the most popular places in South America to visit and explore thanks to British Airways offering the only direct services between London and Lima from May 4, 2016. Lima is a fantastic gateway to some of the most dramatic places to visit in South America leave visitors wanting to explore more of this amazing continent.
San José, Costa Rica
Adventurers and nature lovers will go wild for British Airways' new flights to exotic Costa Rica in 2016. Starting on April 27, British Airways will offer non-stop flights between London and the Costa Rican capital of San José. The country offers an incredible array of places to visit and experience, with everything from its incredible wildlife, rugged rainforests and volcanic peaks, as well as stunning beaches
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
As the start of spectacular 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympic Games nears, visitor numbers to this incredible South American city - and the rest of Brazil are expected to soar. The celebrations kick-off in February with the start of the world's most famous carnival huge numbers of visitors from the UK look set to attend. Then the country plays host to the whole world later in the year as everyone looks to Brazil to host the brightest and the best for the Summer Olympics in August 2016 and the Paralympics a month later in September.
San José, California
California dreaming becomes even more of a reality when British Airways starts new daily flights on its 787-9 Dreamliner with its new First cabin to the capital of Silicon Valley, San José on May 4, 2016. It is the world's software power-house and home to household hi-tech giants such as Apple, eBay and Google, as well as to thousands of tech start-up companies and world-famous Stanford University in nearby Palo Alto. San José is also the gateway to nearby Carmel and Monterey on the rugged central coast along highway one, and provides easy access to the unrivalled splendour of Yosemite National Park. With A380 superjumbo services to San Francisco and Los Angeles and First cabins now to San Diego, America's dazzling west coast is shining even brighter in 2016.
Tampa looks certain to remain a popular destination on the British Airways network, as family-friendly Florida pulls out all the stops to make 2016 the year to visit. The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, extensive beaches and sultry climate make this a must-visit for a relaxing break in the sun. Daily flights from Gatwick make Tampa easy to reach, with a vast array of places to stay, whatever the budget.
Skiing favourite, Salzburg just got a lot closer thanks to the start of new services to the Austrian city, from both Heathrow and Glasgow. Historic Salzburg is a firm favourite, while skiers head to any one of the dozens of resorts within easy travelling distance, Salzburg, with its world-famous Alpine setting and historic baroque buildings and architecture offers just as much for those determined not to step on a slippery slope. For the music-minded, Salzburg served as the backdrop to the multiple award-winning Julie Andrews musical, The Sound of Music, as well as being the birthplace of top classical composer, Mozart.
Just hours away from the UK, but a lifetime away from the ordinary, Iceland's dramatic volcanic landscape of lava fields, geysers, glaciers, waterfalls and black-sand beaches make it a popular tourist destination, especially to watch the astonishing Aurora Borealis. New British Airways flights are sure to boost visitors, drawn to this amazing island. But there's more to see than just snow and ice, not least Reykjavik itself; the world's most northerly and quirky capital, with its cosmopolitan atmosphere which makes a great base to explore this fascinating country.
Spain's third biggest city looks set to draw admiring visitors with the start of direct flights from Gatwick on November 6. Starting just four flights a week, they will rise to six a week for summer 2016, making it British Airways' 15th Spanish route to the sun. Brilliant nearby beaches make this a popular destination for families. Culture vultures also flock to Valencia, which is famous for its numerous festivals, fine historic buildings, striking futuristic architecture and great museums. Valencia's thriving nightlife is also a strong draw once the sun goes down and the drinks start flowing.
Few European cities offer so much culture, history and charm with so many amazing cafes, museums and world-class music festivals as Vienna. Having celebrated 150 years of the stunning Ringstrasse - the most beautiful and well-known boulevard - British Airways new Heathrow service, which started in September 2015, looks set to see even more customers veering to Vienna for the ultimate city break.
Krakow will have its turn in the spotlight this year with The Pope set to visit the southern Polish city to celebrate World Youth Day. With the opening of a new express train station last year the transfer time from airport to city centre is just 18 minutes. Soak up the restaurants and bars in the vast Rynek Glowny, Europe's largest market square.
About British Airways:
· British Airways flies to 199 destinations, 10 destinations in the UK, 106 in Europe and 83 in the rest of the world.
· British Airways offers an extensive range of carefully selected hotels, car hire and experiences in a wide range of worldwide destinations available to book with flights from ba.com/holidays.
· The airline is one of the world's largest international airlines carrying approximately 40 million passengers around the world every year.
· The airline offers a choice of four cabins on the majority of its long-haul services.
· The airline is investing in new aircraft, new cabins, new technology and new routes.
· British Airways operates the majority of flights from Terminal 5, its home at London Heathrow. This terminal is capable of handling 30 million customers a year and is the size of 50 football pitches.
· British Airways' home Terminal 5 has been recognised as the world's best terminal for the fourth consecutive year in the Skytrax awards.