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Move over all-inclusive beach resorts and European getaways. It seems like travellers are getting a little more sophisticated and reclusive with their travel plans for 2018, opting for higher luxury and less-travelled options.

According to TripAdvisor, this year’s top-trending travel destination is actually a remote island in Japan.

A post shared by A Kobayashi (@koba031740) on

The island of Ishigaki is located in the country’s southwestern Okinawa Prefecture, a picturesque place that travellers often compare to Hawaii, only it’s less commercialized. That’s probably thanks to its mangrove forests, beautiful diving spots and sandy beaches, but the fact that the island has a total population of about 50,000 doesn’t hurt either.

A post shared by Ryo Nakai (@is.ryo.072) on

So how did TripAdvisor choose Ishigaki to be this year’s top spot?

It’s all based on an algorithm that looks at positive user ratings for things like eateries and hotels, while comparing the overall number of bookings over the years. Sure enough, the Okinawa Prefecture and its lovely island even beat Kapaa in Hawaii (No. 2) and Nairobi in Kenya (No. 3).

According to the company, the Okinawa Prefecture is also expected to welcome more visitors than Hawaii this year. And really, can you blame people for wanting to visit a place like this?

A post shared by @skr.1144 on


The hotel industry on the island seems to be keeping up with the influx of visitors too. There are a variety of places to stay, from less expensive bed and breakfasts and inns to full-on beach resorts.

And what should you do upon arrival, other than check out the clear waters and white, sandy beaches? Some of the highest-rated traveller recommendations include taking a ride in a glass-bottomed boat to see the natural reefs and tropical fish, or diving to get a more up close and personal look.

Not a fan of the deep blue sea? There are also plenty of spas and romantic retreats to take advantage of. Because, hey, you can’t take a trip to a remote Japanese island and not get a little romantic. Not with scenery like this at any rate.

A post shared by mioyama (@moym789) on

Want to check out some of the other top-trending travel destinations for 2018? Here’s the complete list from TripAdvisor, including our very own Canadian hot spot, Halifax.

1. Ishigaki (Japan)
2. Kapaa (Hawaii)
3. Nairobi (Kenya)
4. Halifax (Canada)
5. Gdansk (Poland)
6. San Jose (Costa Rica)
7. Riga (Latvia)
8. Rovinj (Croatia)
9. Nerja (Spain)
10. Casablanca (Morocco)

Happy travels!