28 DEC 2018: Ready for the official count down as we bring in the New Year? We've spun the globe around to highlight some headliner events that'll be splashing some big ink. Here's the rundown:


Total Solar Eclipse
Amateur astronomers from around the world will have a chance to observe the southern hemisphere from dark skies especially if venturing to Chile and Argentina. Favourite areas include the Equi Valley and the Atacama Desert, both in Chile. In Argentina one local tour operator has leased land for groups totaling about 600 to observe this rare phenomenon.
July 2

50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing – That one small step
Where to celebrate on earth? Watch for special exhibits and events of NASA's boldest undertaking - the Apollo 11 Mission. Places like Ohio and Indiana are one of the top producing states for astronauts. Head to the world’s largest children’s museum in Indianapolis and step inside the incredible exhibit called Beyond Spaceship Earth. For true up close encounters see top Apollo artifacts at the Space Center Houston on loan from the Smithsonian Institution in this travelling exhibition which will pay tribute to this earth changing event.
Throughout the year and July 20

500th Anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death
Expect significant retrospectives by the world's major institutions on the life and legacy of this renowned Renaissance artist, inventor and genius throughout the year. Across Italy major exhibitions take place especially in Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. In the UK, the largest exhibition of Leonardo's work in over 65 years is slated to be shown in Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, a new nationwide exhibition from The Royal Collection. See 144 of the Renaissance master's greatest drawings in 12 simultaneous exhibitions across the UK including Southampton City Art Gallery. In May the full 144 drawings will be on exhibit at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace and then in November, a selection of 80 drawings will be on exhibit at The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, the largest group of Leonardo's works ever shown in Scotland. In France, the Loire Valley region will celebrate the artistic, scientific and intellectual effervescence of the Renaissance in France. Leonardo da Vinci left Rome for Amboise in 1516 upon invitation by King Francis I and lived in the “Cloux” Manor now known as Château du Clos Lucé where he spent the last three years of his life. He died in Amboise.
May 2 and year-round

100 Years of Bauhaus
The 100th anniversary of Bauhaus is being given a huge nod worldwide. This movement in architecture will be celebrated in countries like Germany, Greece, Israel, and in the United States where many of the original Bauhaus master teachers and students emigrated to during World War II. In Germany, around the Weimar, Dessau, and Berlin watch for a number of Bauhaus exhibitions and tours of Bauhaus architecture. Even in the lesser known hubs like Aspen, Colorado and the Roaring Fork Valley this architectural style will be commemorated. In Israel, thousands of German Jewish architects brought the ‘Bauhaus’ style to Tel Aviv, which is home to the world’s largest collection of Bauhaus buildings. Watch for official (and unofficial) celebrations throughout the year in Israel to mark the anniversary with most falling around June and September. Clients can stay at Bauhaus style buildings like the Poli House Hotel, a luxury boutique property in Tel Aviv with its legendary Layla Lavan party on the hotel rooftop.

100th Anniversary of The Treaty of Versailles
This historic treaty ended WWI in 1919. On June 28, 1919 Germany and the Allied Nations including the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy and Russia signed the Treaty of Versailles formally ending the war.

75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings
A significant moment in global history June 6, 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy of the Second World War. Several important occasions will commemorate this historic anniversary. Britain’s Imperial War Museums (IWM) with five museums across the UK will retell the story between 1 – 9 June through three of its historic sites: HMS Belfast, IWM Duxford and Churchill War Rooms all of which played a significant role in D-Day. In Bristol in southwest England the Normandy landings were planned by Gen Omar Bradley at Clifton College in Bristol, the US Army’s command base in the city. Expect events and commemorations to take place across Britain and Europe. Some of the other known hubs with 75th year D-Day commemorations include the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas. The former President commanded the D-Day invasion as the Supreme Allied Commander and led the Allied Forces in the Normandy Invasion. The newly renovated library will reopen in time for the D-Day 75th anniversary.
June 6 and throughout the year


During the decade long rehab of the historic Parliament buildings in the nation's capital, starting on Feb. 1, folks interested in free guided tours have a choice of two new sites: West Block, the interim home of the House of Commons, and the Government Conference Centre (once Ottawa's central train station, located across the street from the Fairmont Chateau Laurier hotel), the interim home of the Senate.

50th anniversary of the National Arts Centre
Canada's bilingual multidisciplinary performing arts centre celebrates its golden year by launching the new Indigenous Theatre Department opening in time for the 2019-2020 season.

25th Ottawa Chamberfest
The world's largest chamber music festival presents concerts in beautiful Ottawa churches and offers concerts until early August.

Fairmont Royal York celebrates 90 years
In a countdown to the hotel's 90th anniversary a special tree lighting ceremony in support of the Children's Wish Foundation currently shines brighter than ever. The Toronto landmark which was originally known as The Royal York was once the tallest building in the entire British Commonwealth. Expect a major makeover to the tune of a $500 million transformation with an expected completion date this June in time to celebrate the birthday.
June 11

Ontario Science Centre turns 50
This interactive science lab of toil, fun and experimental creations is slated to have a slew of new exhibits like the Inventorium 2.0, IMAX Great bear Rainforest, Super Power Dogs, Astronaut and Women in Space.


Stafford Connecticut's Tricentennial
Named after the English town in Staffordshire this historic hamlet was known for its mineral springs but these days more for its quaint New England town vibe. A big gala party is planned but the town will have other special events year-round commemorating the city's founding.
March 30

Memphis Bicentennial party
This city famous for its melt-in-your-mouth BBQ happens to have huge street cred with musical artists. Super shock value will happen as the city welcomes such artists as Justin Timberlake and KISS who bring their End of the Road World Tour not to mention heaps of activities like bouldering at the new climbing gyms or hitting the Big River Crossing, a huge walkfest across Mississippi River's longest pedestrian bridge. Watch for the Memphis in May Festival. Included in the line-up: the World championship BBQ Cooking Competition and The Great American River Run. At the local museum, The Pink Palace, which was once the home of the Piggly Wiggly grocery store founder see a new exhibit called “Making Memphis- 200 Years of Community.”

150 Years: The Peabody Hotel, Memphis
One of the city's most beloved attractions due in large part to the resident Peabody Ducks that famously waddle through the lobby, this luxury landmark property in Memphis has received a makeover in time for its milestone anniversary.

110th New Year's Eve at the Hotel Boulderado, Boulder Colorado
Hotel Boulderado is a lavish Beaux-Arts hotel in the centre of Boulder, Colorado. Originally built by the people of Boulder for travellers who came through town to go to the University of Colorado or attend Chautauqua cultural meetings in those days, the town was known as the “Athens of the West.” It's been a social hub ever since the hotel’s inaugural event which historians report was an epic New Year’s Eve Ball on December 31st, 1908. The first guests checked into the hotel on New Year’s Day 1909. This year is no exception. Party goers will join illustrious past guests - everyone from Clarence Darrow, Helen Keller and Robert Frost to Ethel Barrymore, Benny Goodman and Louis Armstrong – to become part of the history of this lively landmark.

Reno Rodeo's Centennial
In the 'biggest little city in the world,' this Nevada hub is prepping for the “wildest, richest, rodeo in the west.” The 10-day event is pure wild west family fun with a carnival atmosphere and high adrenaline spectator shows.
June 20-29

Grand Canyon National Park's 100th Birthday
Celebrate the Grand Canyon’s centenary via a wilderness encounter. Ramblers Walking Holidays, a Brit tour company has ‘America’s Canyonlands,’ a walking holiday with a night in the only lodging below the canyon rim. Called Phantom Ranch, this much sought-after historic oasis is nestled at the bottom of the gorge on the north side of the Colorado River.

Leopald’s Ice Cream Celebrates 100
Since 1919, the Leopald family in Savannah, Georgia has been serving up award-winning homemade ice cream made from recipes unchanged since the start. No matter the time of year, the old-fashioned soda fountain-style shop on busy Broughton Street has a line out the door and down the street with patrons waiting to sample Leopald’s classic flavours like Tutti Frutti, Lemon Custard and Savannah Socialite.

Pebble Beach Resorts aces 100 years
In California's coastal-rich Monterey County these iconic greens known for its Lone Cypress considered one of the most photographed trees in North America not only celebrates its 100th birthday but the legendary golf club is set to host the US Open from June 13-16.

65th Little Brown Jug
In Ohio, Delaware County is known for their horse farms and every year the annual Little Brown Jug takes place. Called one of the most coveted Standardbred races in the world, the Little Brown Jug is a harness race for three-year-old pacing Standardbred horses, held annually during the Delaware County Fair. Attracting more than 50,000 spectators to the county each fall, this event is a community staple. During the Little Brown Jug all schools, businesses and government offices close so residents can attend the race.
September 15-19

50 Years of Virginia is for Lovers
The mega-hit travel slogan Virginia is for Lovers has had 50 years of lovin'. While it has meant different things to different people, one thing hasn't changed - the LOVE. In 2019, Virginia celebrates 50 Years of Love with special statewide experiences. Virginia Tourism Corporation will be leading an activation during the summer of 2019. The tourism office will kick it off on June 21 and end the promotion 50 days later on August 10.

Woodstock is Golden
50 years ago one of the most monumental and historical music events occurred on a farm in New York. To this day, no other festival has achieved the popularity as Woodstock did back in August of 1969. Rumours and upcoming press releases from the promoter is swarming the Internet but we're all still anticipating news on the anniversary show line-up. While Bethel Woods (the registered historic site of the original 1969 Woodstock Festival) has not yet announced a 50th anniversary festival, they have announced a 50th anniversary events season spanning special performances, educational events and activities taking place on the historic site where the spirit of the 60’s is alive and well. Bethel Woods is located in Sullivan County, NY just a couple hours north of NYC.

Hobie Cat World Championship: Fort Myers and Sanibel Island
One of the world's largest sailing events is making a monumental comeback to the United States. Over 500 competitors are expected to race off the shores of Sanibel and Captiva for the 2019 Hobie Cat World Championship. The competition was only hosted once before in the US back in 1984. The Hobie World Championship is an exclusive regatta where sailors from over 25 countries compete over six days, while thousands of spectators cheer them on from the coastline.

United Kingdom

Wales – Year of Discovery
This themed year will encourage visitors to not only discover Wales but also themselves through the wealth of attractions, adventures and experiences Wales has to offer.

Leeds Castle’s Big 900
Expect a series of special events around the 900th anniversary of this historic landmark. Situated in Kent, the original castle dates back to 1119 when Robert de Crevecoeur built the first stone defence on the estate. Since then, it's been owned by six medieval queens, King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. In 1926 the setting morphed into weekend parties for famous film stars, politicians and royalty of the day.

England's oldest horse race reaches the 500th marker
While most of the horse racing world may have its binoculars on the Cheltenham Festival in March, a four-mile countryside course in the picturesque Yorkshire Wolds will provide the testing course for England's oldest horse race, the Kiplingcotes Derby. Henry VIII was the King of England when this race was first run, and ever since the countryside around the East Yorkshire village of Market Weighton has proudly hosted this ancient tradition. The race itself has only ever been in danger of being cancelled three times - during the harsh winters of 1947 and 2018, and because of the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001.
March 21

Bicentennial anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth
Expect major exhibitions devoted to Queen Victoria. On the Isle of Wight Osborne House will celebrate the grand 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria. The Victorian era brought with it a gold age to the Island, as writers, poets, artists and some of the earliest holiday makers followed in the footsteps of Victoria & Albert who created their famous summer home on the Isle of Wight. Expect celebrations across the country, including Windsor, Leeds, Whitby and London’s Kensington Palace, the place of her birth, which will open a permanent re-presentation of her rooms.
24 May 2019

200th anniversary of John Keats’ composition of ‘To Autumn’
After a walk along the River Itchen near Winchester on September 19, 1819, John Keats composed what is widely regarded by critics as one of the most perfect short poems ever written. ‘To Autumn’ is the last work in a group of Keats’ poems known as the “1819 odes,” published in 1820. As the “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” approaches, it’s the perfect time to follow a self-guided walk in the poet’s footsteps through Winchester and the landscape that inspired those three perfect stanzas. A programme of special events celebrating Keats’s visit to Winchester and the ode that came of it will include guided tours, poetry readings, and more.
September 19

Centenary of the world’s first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight
The first nonstop trans Atlantic flight by two pilots in a Vickers Vimy. Brooklands Museum will be marking the occasion to include a Vickers Vimy which is part of the museum’s collection.
15 June 2019

Centenary of Guildford Symphony Orchestra
Famous composers in the past who came to conduct the GSO include Elgar with his violin concerto, Vaughan Williams with his fifth symphony and Roger Quilter with his Children’s Overture. Other guest conductors have included Adrian Boult, Arthur Bliss and Charles Groves. Now you can watch for a guest appearance at St John’s, Smith Square in London plus a special centenary concert in autumn to feature Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Jane Austen’s House Museum 70th Anniversary
The Museum will be celebrating the many thousands of visitors who have journeyed to Jane’s home exploring cherished memories and stories of the House, and admiring the work and commitment of those who have supported the most treasured Austen site in the world. On July 23, the Museum’s official 1949 opening date, the first 70 visitors will be able to purchase admission at the original 1949 ticket price of 1/6d (equivalent to £2.34 today!)

Britain's National Parks turns 70
Expect National Parks Week to be extra special.

Brooklands Museum 50 years of Concorde
Brooklands Museum in Guildford is home to Concorde which will be marking the occasion. Made and developed in Bristol the first flight of the supersonic aircraft happened on March 2, 1969. Learn about the amazing aircraft and step aboard Concorde Alpha Foxtrot, the last to be built and to fly at Aerospace Bristol.
March 2

50th anniversary of Biddenden Vineyards, Kent
Kent’s original commercial vineyard at Maidstone is golden. It’s still owned and managed independently by the Barnes family with the second and third generation currently running the estate. Biddenden started as a 40-acre apple orchard but when apple prices started to decline in the late 1960s Mrs Barnes decided to plant one third of an acre with vines. Nowadays, visitors are welcome to stroll round the 23-acre vineyard, which is open daily to see the 11 different grape varieties grown on gentle south-facing slopes. Tastings include Biddenden’s award-winning still and sparkling wines, Kentish ciders and mead. Private guided tours can be pre-booked.

The Netherlands
Rembrandt: 350th anniversary of his death
Expect major exhibitions of the most important painter in Dutch history throughout Holland. One of the biggest retrospectives will be at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam which has the world's largest collection of Rembrandt paintings. See the entire collection of his works for the very first time. The Night Watch, his most famous painting, will also be on display.
15 February – 10 June 2019

500th Anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death
The anniversary will be honoured across the country with a host of exhibitions and art displays. With the spotlight on the country in 2019, there will be increased fervour around historically significant areas where Da Vinci's work is displayed, including The Sistine Chapel in The Vatican City.

20th World Puppet Festival
The largest puppet festival in the world is ready to showcase a world of puppet masters in brilliant make-believe. A key event in the life of the French Ardennes region the Festival will once again bring together over 100 puppet companies from every continent. Only held every two years in Charleville-Mézières, it has grown dramatically since its inception in 1961 and now attracts around 170,000 spectators. Charleville-Mézières is also the 'home' to an International Puppet Institute, and an Ecole Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette which offers a three-year puppetry course to international students.
September 20-29

300 years Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein marks its 300th anniversary.

140 years of lights at St. Moritz' Fabled Grand Restaurant
In the hospitality biz since 1856, the acclaimed Kulm Hotel which helped put St. Moritz on the map as a winter destination introduced this chocolate-loving nation to the electric light via its historic Grand Restaurant. Imagine high society types enjoying fondues in the country's first electric lit restaurant.


Year of Festivals
The Caribbean Tourism Organization has declared 2019 the Year of Festivals as the region will celebrate the unique rhythm and tempo of each CTO destination.

500th Anniversary Havana
The entire Cuban capital is going to be alive with celebrations year round with new developments coming online from luxury hotels like the Iberostar Grand Packard Hotel and the restoration and reopening of the Capitol to visitors. Not only has the capital of Havana been brought to light by being featured in the No. 1 Camila Cabello song but it has quickly become one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, putting it at the top of many holidaymakers’ bucket lists.



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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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