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Last week American Express Travel unveiled the top trending travel destinations for 2019, a list full of surprises and crowd-pleasing favorites.
The list was presented by David Chang, the chef and media star behind the Michelin-starred Momofuku restaurant chain and Netflix series Ugly Delicious, as well as Audrey Hendley, president of American Express Travel.
Guests at the unveiling, held at Lightbox in Manhattan’s Garment District, enjoyed cocktails and dishes inspired the destinations and created by the Momofuku team.

The list presented a departure from past. According to Hendley, previous destinations were “largely reflective of industry trends.” However, for 2019, she said, “the list reflects our Card Members’ passion for discovery—uncovering hidden gems and seeking unique experiences in unconventional travel destinations. They don’t want to follow a trend, they want to start it.”

For example, according to Hendley, Hamburg, the number three destination on the list, is “not the first place travelers think of when they plan a trip to Germany, but that is changing.” As the birthplace of Brahms and Mendelssohn–and with last year’s opening of the extravagant Elbphilharmonie concert hall– “Hamburg is in the spotlight as the current must-see destination for music lovers worldwide.”

Hendley pointed out that American Express Travel’s data shows an increase of Card Member travels to Hamburg of 62% over the last year–but that wasn’t the destination on the list with the biggest change. Last year Savannah, Georgia, saw its Card Member travel grow by 96%, followed by fellow list-member Marrakech, Morocco (up 89%), which, as Hendley pointed out, boasts five hotels in in the Fine Hotels & Resorts program including the Amanjena, Four Seasons Resort Marrakesh, La Mamounia, Mandarin Oriental, and Royal Mansour Marrakesh.

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Other destinations include Doha, Qatar, where “tourism is becoming a major industry with the development of a wide range of hotels, including numerous luxury properties and huge shopping complexes,” and Singapore, whose national carrier, Singapore Airlines, recently restarted non-stop flights between the island country and New York for the first time since 2013. And it helps that, as Hendley pointed out, “searches for Singapore have also exploded since Crazy Rich Asians premiered earlier this year.”
“Travel can be a hard decision when it’s just you and a search browser,” Hendley added. “That’s where we come in. Travel planning and booking must be an empowering, collaborative and seamless experience—after all, our customers are amateur travel agents in their own right, and they want to work with us to create extraordinary moments that they’ll never forget. “
The entire list is below.
  1. Barcelona, Spain
  2. Doha, Qatar
  3. Hamburg, Germany
  4. Marrakech, Morocco
  5. New Zealand
  6. Nassau, Bahamas
  7. Savannah, Georgia
  8. Singapore
  9. Tuscany, Italy
  10. Washington DC

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