Oman’s popularity has been on the rise for the last several years as a must-see place with major travel magazines putting it in ‘Top ten places to see every year’. Now, CNN news channel has placed Muscat among the top seven metropolises in the world to watch out for this year.
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Toronto tops the list followed by Muscat, Dundee, Paris, Tokyo, Tbilisi and San Miguel de Allende.
1. Toronto, Canada: The tech star of the north
Why? “When Google’s parent company Alphabet announced in October 2017 that its urban innovation unit Sidewalk Labs will develop a 12-acre site in the city into a new, high-tech district ‘from the Internet up’ using data and sensors, Toronto became one of the most talked about cities in the world overnight and will arguably be the one to watch in 2018,” the news channel said.
Best for: Hip-hop, basketball and celebrity house sales.
2. Muscat, Oman: The Middle Eastern metropolis
Why? Muscat has been chosen as it provides a safe haven in an otherwise volatile region. “Oman hasn’t fallen into the trap of brash over beauty like many of its Emirati cousins. Almost half of the country’s population live in modern apartments in the capital city of Muscat where a new airport will eventually have capacity for 48 million passengers a year creating a likely, and comparatively safe, gateway to the east,” CNN said.
Best for: Waterside living, modern religious architecture, desert camping and seafood.
3. Dundee, Scotland: The cultural comeback kid
Why? A massive, £1bn regeneration masterplan kicked off in 2001 and the resulting transformation of the city has started to take hold, with the Dundee Waterfront scheme set to hit crucial landmarks in 2018.
Best for: Ambitious renovations and build-to-rent developments.
4. Paris, France: The French fancy
Why? The impact of the first full year with President Emmanuel Macron at the helm and resulting policy fuelling fresh commitment to flexible business leases, tech and innovation could see Paris come into its own.
Best for: Young businesses, thanks to the opening of Station F - the world’s biggest startup hub - inside an old 1920s freight station in the 13th arrondissement.
5. Tokyo, Japan: Going for gold
Why? With the Summer Olympics just over two years away, the city is gearing up to host the world. The £1.2bn stadium designed by Kengo Kuma is only the start, as 2018 will see swathes of new residential development spring up.
Best for: Tiny homes, AI light installations and psychedelic greenhouses
6. Tbilisi, Georgia: The Hollywood, hipster hotspot
Why? Something has happened in Georgia’s capital over the last 18 months, earning it the title of ‘Lisbon of 2018’.
“An almost overnight must-see destination, the city increasingly becoming one of the world’s most coveted hubs for fashion, arts and creativity,” CNN said.
Best for: Mercedes Benz fashion week, techno music and wine
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7. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: The Mexican marvel
Why? It was voted the best city in the world by travellers in 2017. “Once dismissed as an (albeit pretty) retirement location, San Miguel de Allende now has swathe of festivals and some of the best food south of the border, putting it on ‘one to watch status’.
Best for: Colour; from the houses lining the cobbled streets to the flowers in the public parks. That and churros.