With the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) scheduled for 2020, Cairo will be a sought-after urban destination for travellers this year, but not the only one. A number of planned events will also attract attention to other cities around the world over the next 12 months. Here is a roundup of what is happening and where

1. Dubai

Expo 2020

The small emirate is determined to capitalise on the upcoming World Expo, which will take place from October 20 to April 10, 2021, to promote its advantages as a vacation destination. Some 192 pavilions representing as many countries, more than 200 restaurants and 60 daily events will highlight the theme of Expo 2020: "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future." 

(Related: Why Desert Holidays Are Becoming Increasingly Popular Among Travellers)

2. Vienna

250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven

The 250th anniversary of the birth of the great composer will set the tempo in the Austrian capital throughout the year. An exhibition of original letters and manuscripts opened on December 19 last year, while renowned conductor Marin Alsop will lead the ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony as part of the "All Together: A Global Ode to Joy" initiative. 

3. Lille

World Design Capital in 2020 

The capital of French Flanders is taking over from Mexico City as the international epicentre of design. Around 50 exhibitions will document how design can play a role in the challenges of tomorrow, such as climate change, better housing, and the search for a more inclusive society. Each season of 2020 will be devoted to a specific theme. 

4. Rijeka

European Capital of Culture

For the first time, the Croatian coastline has been honoured by the European Capital of Culture program. The port city close to the Slovenian border will host a specially commissioned opera. There will be contemporary art with a notable exhibition by Nan Hoover, whose work revolves around video and photography. Finally, the year of culture will not be limited to Rijeka, as surrounding towns will also be involved in the program. The Rijeka Carnival, which takes place in January and February, will be one of the key moments of the year. 

(Related: 5 Of The Most Romantic Spots In Croatia)

5. Galway

European Capital of Culture

Another port city, Galway in the west of Ireland will also be spotlighted as a second European Capital of Culture in 2020. In a programme that reflects the seasons of the Celtic calendar, many of the planned events will be held outdoors to maximise the attendance of tourists and locals. Set to begin on February 1, the programme will include a fireworks display and a wide range of performances in the city. Saint Patrick's Day on March 17 will also be another high point. 

(Related: Is Ireland The Next Great Culinary Destination?)

6. Paris

350 years of the Hôtel des Invalides

The Musée de l'Armée will celebrate the 350th anniversary of the creation of the famous Parisian monument which houses Napoleon's tomb. The anniversary will be a reminder that the former military hospital has many other distinctions besides being the final resting place of the French emperor. Visitors will be treated to an exhibition on the lives of original residents of the Hôtel des Invalides, and a series of concerts will take place throughout the year.

(Related: Paris' Eiffel Tower Will Soon Be Producing Its Own Wine)

7. Marrakesh

African Capital of Culture

Europe has its capitals of culture programme, and now Africa has one too! The launch of the initiative, which aims to demonstrate the diversity of African cultures, is set to begin in Marrakesh on January 31 with a major street show by African and Moroccan artists.

8. Tokyo

Summer Olympics

What with the Euro soccer tournament and Vendée Globe, 2020 will be a major year in sport. Even more importantly, all eyes will be focused on the Japanese archipelago this summer, where Tokyo will be hosting the Olympic Games for the second time in its history. The city, which is gearing up to welcome huge numbers of visitors, recently set up an enormous Olympic rings sign for the games, which are set to begin on July 24.

(Related: The Best Luxury Hotels To Stay in Tokyo For 2020)

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