Trends

Americans Are Headed to Europe in 2013

Travel Leaders Group unveiled the 2013 results of its authoritative annual Travel Trends Survey. Over 92% of Travel Leaders Group agents surveyed throughout the United States say clients will spend the same or more on travel in 2013 as compared to last year, and Europe – along with European cruising – appears to be driving much of that spending.

Three of the top five international destinations and half of the top ten international destinations are European. Demand is also high as over 82% of the surveyed agents indicate that bookings are on par or greater than this time one year ago.

This survey, based on actual booking data, was conducted by Travel Leaders Group from November 19 - December 16, 2012, and includes responses from 1,045 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents from the flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group’s Luxury Travel Network, Nexion, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com units.

“Already, 2013 is shaping up to be a banner year for European travel.  While Caribbean cruises are still the number one international ‘destination’ for our travelers, our booking data shows a marked increase in American travelers headed across the Atlantic in the coming year,” stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben.  “Rome and London always draw large numbers of travelers – this year each city moved up one spot to numbers four and five, respectively, on our list.  The biggest surprise for some may be the spectacular rebound for European cruises.  Mediterranean cruises landed in our top three for the first timeever and European river cruising is the ultimate ‘hot’ ticket – in just two years it has jumped 13 places to the eighth most booked international destination in our survey.  That’s simply stunning.”

“The continued uptick in travel spending year-over-year – and the fact that over 82% of agents state the number of bookings are the same or higher than last year at this time – may indicate that Americans are fairly confident we won’t go over the ‘fiscal cliff’ and it goes hand-in-hand with travelers heading to more distant and unique destinations,” added Liben.  “Certain destinations will be perennial favorites, such as Orlando and Las Vegas, but for travelers interested in staying ahead of the pack, we also identify the top up-and-coming destinations. This year we looked at four different regions around the world and the results vary from New Zealand and Vietnam to Croatia and Ecuador, including the Galapagos. That’s a very positive indicator for our industry.”

Below are some of the top findings from this year’s Travel Leaders Group Travel Trends Surveyincluding: top international and domestic destinations, “up and coming” destinations, travel spending data, and more:

Top “Up and Coming” International Destinations:

When asked for their expert findings, Travel Leaders Group agents nationally indicate Croatia remains the top “up and coming” international destination within Europe, New Zealand is the hot new destination in the Pacific, Vietnam is still tops within Asia, and Ecuador (including the Galapagos) is the up-and-comer over Panama among destinations within Central/South America.

  • Europe “Up and Coming”: Croatia (34.9%), Turkey (12.9%), Czech Republic (12.2%), Portugal (10.9%), and Iceland (9.87%)
  • Pacific “Up and Coming”:  New Zealand (27.8%), Fiji (13.6%), Tahiti (13.0%), Bora Bora (12.8%), and Australia – South Australia (5.4%).  It should be noted that if Australia wasn’t broken out by state, it would be second behind New Zealand with 16.3%.
  • Asia/Southeast Asia “Up and Coming”: Vietnam (48.3%), Indonesia (7.6%), Burma/Myanmar (7.2%), Cambodia (7.2%), and Malaysia (6.8%).
  • Central/South America “Up and Coming”: Ecuador and Galapagos Islands (18.2%), Panama (17.5%), Peru (17.1%), Brazil (16.8%), and Argentina (10.5%).

Travel Spending in 2013:

Based on current bookings to date for 2013 and conversations with clients, over 92% of Travel Leaders Group agents surveyed say clients will spend the same or more on travel in 2013 (53.1% say clients will spend more while 39.1% say spending will remain the same). That percentage is up over 2012 when 91.3% said clients would spend the same or more than in 2011.

Top Destinations: U.S. and International Based on Actual 2013 Bookings:

The following lists display the top international and domestic destinations for 2013, along with rankings from the 2012 survey conducted one year ago (agents were asked to name up to five top destinations they’re already booking for 2013):

Rank

2013 Top Int'l Destinations

2013%

2012 Rank

1

CRUISE- Caribbean

52.3%

1

2

Cancun, Mexico

42.4%

2

3

CRUISE- Europe (Mediterranean)

28.7%

4

4

Rome, Italy

25.7%

5

5

London, England

24.4%

6

6

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

24.1%

7

7

Playa del Carmen/Riviera Maya, Mexico

18.0%

3

8

CRUISE- Europe (River)

17.5%

13

9 (tie)

Montego Bay, Jamaica

16.6%

9

9 (tie)

Paris, France

16.6%

8

11

Florence and/or Tuscany, Italy

9.6%

12

12

Negril, Jamaica

8.9%

10

13

Barcelona, Spain

8.4%

18

14

CRUISE- Mexico

7.9%

16 (tie)

15

Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, Mexico

7.5%

11

 

Rank

2013 Top Domestic Destinations

2013%

2012 Rank

1

Orlando, FL

44.7%

2

2

Las Vegas, NV

44.1%

1

3 (tie)

Cruise – Alaska

40.0%

4

3 (tie)

Maui, HI

40.0%

3

5

New York City, NY

32.2%

5

6

Honolulu, HI

27.3%

6

7

San Francisco, CA

14.8%

12

8

Washington, D.C.

13.6%

7

9

Chicago, IL

13.4%

8

10

Los Angeles, CA

11.5%

9

11

Fort Lauderdale, FL

10.5%

15

12

Cruise – Hawaii

9.9%

14

13

Miami/Miami Beach, FL

9.5%

18

14

U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix)

9.1%

22

15

Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ

8.8%

10

Top Cruise Destinations for 2013

Among Travel Leaders Group agents whose expertise is in leisure travel and cruising, when asked “Which one of the following cruise destinations are you booking the most for 2013?” Western Caribbean itineraries edged out Alaska.  Agents are also booking a significant number of European river cruises and Mediterranean cruises – both landed among the top five. 

1

Caribbean – Western

20.5%

2

Alaska

20.3%

3

Caribbean – Eastern

18.7%

4

Europe – River Cruise

13.3%

5

Europe – Mediterranean

10.8%

 

  • Mediterranean Cruises – When asked, “Comparing your overall 2013 Mediterranean cruise bookings so far to your 2012 bookings at this time last year, which is true?” of the 458 Travel Leaders Group leisure agents who indicate they book Mediterranean cruises, bookings are higher than or equal to last year for 79.9% (32.3% say “higher” while 47.6% say “equal to last year”).
  • European River Cruises – When asked, “Comparing your overall 2013 Europe river cruise bookings so far to your 2012 bookings at this time last year, which is true?” of the 458 Travel Leaders Group leisure agents who indicate they book Europe river cruises, bookings are higher than or equal to last year for 92.4% (60.7% say “higher while 31.7% say “equal to last year”).

Comparing your overall 2013 bookings so far to your 2012 bookings at this time last year, which is true?

2013 Response

2013%

2012%

2011%

2010%

They’re Higher

45.7

39.5

50.3

28.2

They’re About Even

36.4

40.8

30.7

34

They’re Lower

17.9

19.7

19

37.8

What is your personal outlook on your business in 2013?

2013 Response

2013%

2012%

2011%

2010%

Optimistic

78.7

78.8

80.3

75.8

Neither optimistic nor pessimistic

16.0

17.3

15.0

16.5

Pessimistic

5.3

3.9

4.7

7.7

 



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