Whether hosting a major sporting or cultural event; unveiling a new attraction or embarking on big anniversary celebrations, these are the destination cities taking the spotlight this year...
…set to change the landscape of Bahamas tourism
The $3.5 billion mega resort development known as Baha Mar opens in April and is set to change the landscape of Bahamas tourism. Complete with four five-star hotels, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, 30 restaurants and bars, a 2 000-seat performing arts centre, 14 pools and a 100 000 square foot casino large enough to rival many in Vegas. A series of opening celebrations are planned, including a ribbon-cutting gala. The self-contained recreational world is the western hemisphere’s largest resort project expected to send ripples across the Caribbean and beyond.
When: September 18 – October 31
This year over five million ticket applications were received…the highest demand for any Rugby World Cup to date!
The year of Rugby World Cup is here as the world’s top 20 teams begin the final countdown to the game’s showcase event, which will be hosted in England. England beat rival bids from Italy, Japan and South Africa and is currently on course to be the best attended, and most viewed Rugby World Cup ever.
This sporting event is the third biggest in the world and this year over five million ticket applications were received during the 17 day application window - the highest demand for any Rugby World Cup to date! Record sales through official tours and hospitality programmes of 1.85 million tickets have been sold.
The best teams in the world will be playing at stadia around England, including the current world champions, New Zealand. Tickets for the Final range from £150 to £715, with a projected value of £982 million to the UK economy and at least 460 000 visitors expected to travel to the tournament.
With excitement and anticipation gathering pace, fans can look forward to a record-breaking celebration of rugby. It really will be too big to miss.
The yearlong celebration has already kicked off and highlights include an illuminating new Van Gogh exhibit
This former mining and industrial town is completely reinventing itself in 2015! With a population of just over 93 000, the small city of Mons will host more than 1 000 cultural events. As the official European Capital of Culture, Mons is expecting two million visitors to descend upon its medieval streets. The yearlong celebration has already kicked off and highlights include an illuminating new Van Gogh exhibit, three multidisciplinary arts festivals, numerous public installations and plenty art parties. Mons is also set to unveil an astounding five new museums in April, including The Artotheque (art library) and Mons Memorial Museum.
When: September 18 - 27
…150 000 spectators travel from all over the world to witness the theatrics.
Charleville in France is regarded as a major international centre of puppetry and the World Puppet Festival (founded in 1961) is an event in the world of puppet arts that sets the standard internationally. Every year around 250 professional troupes from five continents (some as far afield as Burma, Mali and Jordan) meet to present their creations to over 150 000 spectators that travel from all over the world to witness the theatrics. The techniques presented, range from the traditional, with glove and string puppet, to more contemporary innovations via marionettes and shadow theatre.
The event is a huge celebration and of great importance to locals, because of the region’s long tradition with puppets and marionettes. Excitement builds before the grand parade, with ten full days of fun on the pavements and sidewalks. There really is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world!
When: May 1 – October 31
Expect exotic food tastings, educational lectures and rich, multi-sensory experiences.
Milan will host the Universal Expo for the second time this year (it first hosted the event in 1906!). The focus of this year’s expo is the future of food where visitors can expect exotic food tastings, educational lectures and rich, multi-sensory experiences. Past expos have left the planet with many icons - the Eiffel Tower, the Space Needle, the first Ferris wheel - but the legacy of Expo Milano 2015 will likely be in the ideas it generates, rather than any architectural marvels.
Travellers from around the world are expected to converge on Italy's second-largest city between May and October to ruminate on the future of food within a 1.1 million square metre fairground plotted out like a classical Roman metropolis. Italy's fashion capital has undergone a huge amount of urban regeneration in preparation for the expo and the event promises to put participants from more than 140 counties in touch with an estimated 20 million visitors who will descend on the city - a record number exceeding even the 2010 Fair in Shanghai.
When: August 9
…celebrations are expected to be bigger and better than ever!
This year Singapore celebrates 50 years of independence, with events spread out throughout the year. But for the best time to visit will be around National Day (August 9), as celebrations are expected to be bigger and better than ever!
The attractive isle is set to come alive with fireworks, parades, shows, youth rallies and the opening of a new walkway from the Civic District to Marina Bay. Plus, in diversifying the city's offerings the long-awaited National Gallery will finally open to the public and join the other recently unveiled attractions of River Safari and the massive Singapore Sports Hub.
The honeycomb-encased gallery has been heralded as the crowning jewel of downtown LA's revival.
A decade ago the gloomy city centre was completely lifeless after dark. Today downtown LA is one of the most exciting neighbourhoods, having transformed with more than 500 shops, restaurants, bars and clubs opening up in the past five years. Exciting new hotels, stores and food venues like the revamped Grand Central Market and the recently completed $3 billion sports and entertainment complex (LA Live) have injected downtown with a new lease on life, luring visitors and residents into its urban core. And, the downtown scene is expected to heat up even further this year with the opening of a brand new contemporary art museum. The Broad Museum is billionaire art collector Eli Broad's $140 million project. The honeycomb-encased gallery has been heralded as the crowning jewel of downtown LA's revival, and will house works by some of the most prominent artists of recent decades.