Veronica Kohlbecker, business consultant, digital marketing expert and founder of KO Studio, is a seasoned pro in the travel industry. Hershey Gargash, a fashion, beauty, travel, and lifestyle writer, collaborated with Veronica to provide the ultimate travel guide for finding your ideal vacation. Kohlbecker worked as a professional tourist, event planner, and concierge for 15 years, during which time she travelled the world in search of the best travel recommendations for A-list clients including Goldie Hawn, the Black Eyed Peas, Naomi Campbell, and Lionel Richie. The online version of a hotel concierge was something she sought out frequently. Coming up with new ideas was difficult, until What a Wonderful World.
Her best friend, Hershey Gargash, is a writer and editor for magazines Harpers Bazaar, OK!, Elle, W, and the Sunday Times Style since 2000 and onward. Hershey has travelled the world during the past two decades attending media events and writing reviews of hotels, spas, resorts, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. She is always discovering fascinating new places that she loves to write about and share with her viewership. They collaborated to start What A Wonderful World, a digital publication, public relations business, and lifestyle platform dedicated to exploring the globe and living a healthy, exciting life. In this article, the girls disclose their predictions for the top 5 places to explore in 2023 and why.
Montenegro: Despite its proximity to its popular neighbour Croatia, the Balkan country of Montenegro has managed to keep its identity a secret. This Balkan country along the Adriatic combines modernity and luxury with ancient allure, providing access to both the sea and the mountains and some of Europe’s finest seafood restaurants. Montenegro is a sailing haven and a beach lover’s paradise, with more than 24 magnificent islands and fjord-like coves surrounded by warm, crystal-clear waters. Nonetheless, this vacation spot offers more than just beach fun. A wide variety of activities are available, from rafting rivers and hiking untamed rocky peaks to skiing 70 kilometres of stunningly gorgeous slopes and exploring mystical citadels, forts, and monasteries. Luxurious accommodations in enchanted settings, such as the brand-new One&Only Portonovi and the historic and renowned Lustica Bay. With Porto Montenegro, the largest superyacht marina in the world, plus a cosmopolitan population, a rich history of tradition and culture, and compelling natural beauty, Montenegro has a lot going for it putting it on Veronica and Hershey’s list as a top up-and-coming destination in 2023.
Rwanda: Often known as “The Land of a Thousand Hills,” Rwanda is truly one of the world’s most outstanding travel destinations thanks to its breathtaking landscapes, extraordinary wildlife, and friendly locals. In addition to being one of the cleanest and most environmentally conscious African destinations (plastic bags are banned here), this little landlocked nation also boasts a wide variety of tourist attractions that are sure to provide visitors with an unforgettable experience. Most visitors come to Rwanda to hike Volcanoes National Park in search of the rare mountain gorilla. The money made from tourists has been instrumental in protecting these amazing animals and developing the local community, so if “doing good” and “giving back” are high on your list of priorities for your next vacation, this is the perfect destination for you. After periods of lockdown preceding the pandemic and mental distress, a visit to observe gorillas in their natural habitat may be a profound and humbling experience. Although the mountain gorillas are the main attraction, Rwanda has many other attractions, such as historical museums, wonderful cuisine, and luxurious hotels. As an example of a high-end boutique hotel, the One&Only Nyungwe House provides guests with unique opportunities, such as a spa in the middle of a tranquil forest and a chance to harvest their own tea leaves. The focus is squarely on the awe-inspiring and wonderful surroundings and all the magic Rwanda provides, which is why it made it to the list of the top 5 locations for 2023.
Anguilla: If you can picture an island with pristine white sands and swaying palm trees, thriving reefs, and waters that seem unnaturally blue, you have effectively pictured Anguilla. For good cause, Lonely Planet has picked this Caribbean paradise as one of the best 10 destinations to visit in 2022. To begin, Anguilla has 33 beaches and more than 100 restaurants, such as Veya, one of the most talked about restaurants on the island with a picturesque treehouse setting and truly innovative dishes. There’s a wide variety of places to eat on this island, from upscale waterfront restaurants and private chef-prepared feasts to laid-back beach bars serving up barbeque and romantic hideaways on uninhabited islets reachable by boat. There is no shortage of first-rate hotels on the island, but the finest privacy can be found in one of the many lavish villas, which range in size from intimate studio apartments to sprawling manors ideal for hosting big gatherings. Anguilla is the place to go for those who like to spend their days sailing, snorkelling, or simply relaxing on the beach in a dreamlike setting, while also enjoying excellent cuisine, barefoot luxury, and a variety of world-class hotels.
Sri Lanka: 2022 has been declared the year to visit Sri Lanka and Hershey and Veronica predict that 2023 will be no different. Sri Lanka’s stunning beaches, major rainforests, and UNESCO protected sites have truly come into their own as a result of the growing popularity of ecotourism and other outdoor-oriented vacations. This tiny island has everything: a safari, a beach, and a rich cultural heritage. The misty peaks of Sri Lanka’s hill region, complete with tumbling valleys, gushing waterfalls, and lush tea fields, can be reached by taking the much-photographed train from Kandy to Ella. Spend a few days on safari in Yala National Park, which boasts one of the highest leopard concentrations in the world, or in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, where the treetops resound with the sounds of exotic birds. There is something for everyone on Sri Lanka’s beaches, from those looking for a peaceful place to unwind to those seeking out new aquatic adventures, such as canoeing through mangroves. Bentota, on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka and stretching south from the beautiful Bentota Lagoon, is a popular beach and watersports destination. The Centara Ceysands Resort & Spa, a trendy boutique hotel tucked amid the palm trees with lovely views and stylish modern facilities including a world-class spa and outstanding dining venues, is just one example of the luxury accommodations available here.
Saudi Arabia: The last destination on their list is Saudi Arabia’s AlUla. It wasn’t until 2019 that Saudi Arabia started issuing tourist visas, but the country is already eagerly awaiting its visitors post pandemic. The cultural paradise of AlUla only formally opened to international travellers full-time in 2020. The Kingdom intends to become a popular tourist destination, therefore it has conserved many of its historical and cultural landmarks, making it a place of exciting new experiences and breathtaking scenery. See the rock formations and preserved tombs at Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, and tour the abandoned town of 900 traditional mud houses that is now a fascinating restoration project and where friendly locals are eager to share their stories (only possible with a local Rawi guide). Hike the Oasis Heritage Trail past groves of palm trees and lemon groves before watching the sunset over Jabal AlFil, also known as Elephant Rock, and taking in the incredible display of colour as the light fades on this remarkable natural sculpture. You can enjoy a taste of Mayfair glitz at Annabel’s, London’s famous private members club, which has set up shop here; stay at Habitas AlUla, a luxury hotel with an eco-friendly ethos; reserve a villa at the luxurious Shaden Resort (Aman Resorts and Banyan Tree are also set to open soon); dine in style at Maraya Social, helmed by celebrity chef Jason Atherton; and more. Among the most popular travel spots, Saudi’s AlUla is sure to become an even bigger travel destination in the future.