Where We’re Heading (Travelwise) in 2014

As we prepare to close out 2013, what are the top travel trends for 2014? A report, based on actual booking data and travel agent survey, provides some answers.

Based on the findings, the single, hottest destination trend in travel is European river cruising – having landed in the Top 5 international destinations for the first time ever (it ranked 21st just three years ago).

The overall top domestic and international destinations for the coming year are Las Vegas and Caribbean cruises, respectively. This year’s survey results also reveal that 85.7% of agents indicate that 2014 bookings are on par or greater than this time one year ago and 94% of those surveyed state client spending will be the same or higher in the coming year.

“If Europe could find a way to create additional scenic rivers, the travel industry – and, in particular, our agents – would be sending even more clients on European river cruises. Demand is definitely outpacing supply even as major river cruise lines build more ships. The continued success of river cruising is just one of many positive stories heading into the New Year,” stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben.

Here are a few lists to peruse:

“Up and coming” destinations by region:

  • Europe: Croatia (25.6%), Iceland (14.8%), Turkey (13.6%), Czech Republic (12.1%) and Portugal (12.0%).  Last year Iceland was fifth on this list with 9.9%. Delta Air Lines began serving Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik in 2013 and will resume service for summer 2014.
  • Pacific: New Zealand (30.1%), Tahiti (16.9%), Fiji (13.0%), Bora Bora (11.5%) and Australia – Queensland (5.9%).  It should be noted that if Australia wasn’t broken out by state, it would be second behind New Zealand with 18.1%.
  • Asia/Southeast Asia: Vietnam (38.0%), Burma/Myanmar (11.9%), Maldives (11.4%), Seychelles (8.6%) and Indonesia (7.4%). With Burma gradually opening to more visitors, including through river cruise options, it has increased substantially in popularity.
  • Central/South America: Peru (17.6%), Brazil (16.8%), Panama (16.3%), Ecuador and Galapagos Islands (16.0%), and Argentina (12.2%). Peru is increasingly on more “bucket lists” thanks to Machu Picchu, while Brazil is hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

Top Domestic Destinations

1. Las Vegas

2 Orlando, Florida

3. Maui

4. Alaska (cruise)

5. New York City

Top International Destinations

1. Cruise — Caribbean

2. Cancun, Mexico

3. Cruise — Europe (Mediterranean)

4. Rome

5. Cruise — Europe (river)



Survey Says: Vacations!

You might have guessed that more Americans would be spending their tax refund money on paying down debts (like a mortgage or student loan) – one of the main pieces of financial advice during this year’s tax season.

But, it seems, according to a recent survey by Travel Leaders, that many Americans aren’t heeding that financial guidance. Instead, over half (57%) of survey respondents who are receiving a tax refund are planning to use at least part of the money for vacations and leisure travel this year.

Additionally, a majority (83%) of those surveyed indicated that they would spend the same or more on leisure travel this year than they did in 2010. Only 17% of respondents indicated they would spend less this year than they did in 2010.

In terms of where those polled want to spend that leisure time, Australia was chosen as the No. 1 “ultimate dream international destination.” Italy, Ireland, New Zealand and Mediterranean cruising followed respectively. The most traveled to (or anticipated to travel to) states include Florida, followed by California and New York.

Other findings include:

  • 89% of those polled noted that they have already or will take at least one leisure trip in 2011
  • Nearly 62% indicated they had already taken at least one trip in 2011; 22% have already taken multiple vacation trips
  • Almost 87% of respondents said they are planning to take the same amount, or more trips this year
  • Just over 75% of respondents plan to travel within the U.S. and further than a bordering state.

The group conducted the survey this year between March 10 and April 10 with responses from 953 U.S. consumers.