For the past two years, Travel + Leisure has anointed a Destination of the Year: the country or city that we watched—and covered—with fascination as it went through irreversible changes. Our first Destination of the Year was Myanmar, an Asian nation that was going through political, religious, and cultural shifts. “Go before the place internationalizes and loses the look of old Asia that has been preserved by its harshly imposed self-isolation,” wrote Andrew Solomon in a story we published in our December 2014 issue. “Go before everyone else goes.” In 2015, we selected Cuba, a country that, at long last, was opening up to American tourism. It was sheer luck that T+L had writer Gary Shteyngart in Havana on assignment just weeks after President Obama announced the beginning of restoring relations with the country. In the ensuing months, airlines, hotels, and cruises scrambled to keep up with demand and debut new offerings. We also opened up the vote for a Readers’ Choice, and Southern hot spot Nashville won with 15.8 percent of the vote.
What destination will receive the honor for 2016? This year, our short list has a range of places, including the tiny Italian island of Ischia and America’s broad national park system, which celebrated a major birthday this year. Below, 17 Travel + Leisure editors share their choices for Destination of the Year. Vote for your favorite and check back on November 14 for who we’ve deemed the winner.