Caribbean Cruises Hold Top Spot for International Travel and 'Up and Coming' Countries for 2020 Leisure Travel are Revealed
Travel Leaders Group, one of North America's largest travel agency companies, revealed the results of a 2019-2020 travel trends survey conducted among more than 400 Travel Leaders Group advisors.
For the third year in a row, Alaska cruises earned the top spot as the most booked domestic vacation in 2019, with Orlando not too far behind. Las Vegas, New York City and Honolulu rounded out the Top 5. Internationally, Caribbean cruises and Cancun, Mexico, respectively, maintained the top two spots, while Italy jumped from fifth to third place. European river cruises and Mediterranean cruises were fourth and fifth, respectively.
"Cruising, whether it's to Alaska, to the Caribbean or a European cruise in the Mediterranean, is a perennial favorite among North Americans," said Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko. "With so many new ships coming on board, we're seeing strong growth and demand for luxury river cruises that allow you to explore smaller cities along rivers such as the Danube." According to the survey, more than half (56%) of travel agents foresee booking a luxury river cruise in 2020.
Approximately 32 million passengers are expected to set sail in 2020, according to the Cruise Lines International Association. To meet ongoing demand, cruise lines are scheduled to debut 19 new ocean ships in the upcoming year.
"Women only" trips saw the most growth in Travel Leaders Group bookings compared to last year, earning fifth place on the list of top niche travel areas. Top "up and coming" destinations for 2020, according to travel advisors, include Bora Bora, Thailand, Ecuador – Galapagos Island and Croatia. Year over year, the Maldives, Bora Bora, Galapagos and Croatia moved up the list.
Below are the top destinations and niche travel findings:
Top Destinations Booked in 2019:
Top U.S. Destinations
1. Alaska – cruise (38%)
2. Orlando, FL (32%)
3. Las Vegas, NV (26%)
4. New York City, NY (22%)
5. Honolulu, HI (21%)
Top International Destinations
1. Caribbean/Mexican Gulf Coast – cruise (31%)
2. Cancun, Mexico (27%)
3. Italy (25%)
4. Europe – River cruise (21%)
5. Europe – Mediterranean cruise (19%)
Top Niche Travel Areas
1. Active/Adventure (45%)
2. Honeymoon & Destination Weddings (36%)
3. Culinary & Wine (35%)
4. Affinity Groups (20%)
5. Women's Only (19%)
Top Up-and-Coming International Destinations for 2020:
1. Bora Bora (30%)
2. Tahiti (27%)
3. Fiji (22%)
4. Moorea (5%)
5. Cook Islands (4%)
Asia/South East Asia
1. Thailand (24%)
2. Maldives (17%)
3. Vietnam (16%)
4. Singapore (9%)
5. Philippines (5%)
1. Ecuador— Galapagos Island (19%)
2. Peru (18%)
3. Brazil (17%)
4. Panama (13%)
5. Argentina (9%)
1. Croatia (26%)
2. Iceland (23%)
3. Portugal (14%)
4. Scotland (10%)
5. Netherlands (7%)
Other Key Findings
Optimism among Travel Leaders Group agents with respect to their travel business remains high at 81%. Most clients are booking 6-7 day trips (43%) followed by 8-10 day trips (27%) and 4-5 day trips (15%).
According to the survey, travelers are planning on spending more or significantly more money on travel in 2020 (57%). The majority (54%) said clients have also expressed interest in using credit card rewards points to pay for all or part of their travel.
While parents traveling with small children (26%) remains a top family travel trend, travel advisors have reported growth in adult children traveling with their parents (26%) as well as grandparents traveling with grandchildren (24%) over the past three years. In addition, 41% have also reported a slight increase in the number of bookings for multi-generational family vacations.
Most desired amentities/features that families are seeking when booking vacation travel are:
1. Non-stop flights (75%)
2. Adjoining rooms or multi-room units/accommodations (61%)
3. Proximity to major attractions or sightseeing locations (52%)
4. Free breakfast (47%)
5. Children's programs (33%)
The Travel Leaders Group travel trends survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2019 with more than 400 travel advisors participating.
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