Maui Ranks First Among U.S. Destinations for Second Year, as Caribbean Cruises Jumps To Top International Spot

September 28, 2017

The jump by Caribbean cruises from second place is not surprising given the good value for the money. Domestically, Alaska cruising holds its spot in the top five among U.S. vacation destinations

Travel Leaders Group’s Fall Travel Trends show there is a 10.6% increase from 2016 in clients wanting to travel to Europe soon.


New York, NY (September 28, 2017) — The popular saying, Maui nō ka ‘oi – “Maui is the best” – rang true with the ranking of the “Valley Isle” as the most popular domestic destination for fall travel bookings and beyond, according to the 2017 Fall Travel Trends Survey released today by Travel Leaders Group. The survey of the 1,107 travel agency professionals polled by the travel industry powerhouse – long known for its comprehensive travel surveys – found Orlando, Las Vegas, New York City and Alaska cruises rounding out the top five domestic destinations.


“The domestic results indicate that Maui, which has long been a sought-after destination for American travelers, has staying power, but Orlando remains a close second,” said Travel Leaders Group Chief Executive Officer Ninan Chacko. “The quick return of Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resorts to normal business hours after Hurricane Irma is a sign of the continued interest travelers have in the destination.”


Caribbean cruises eased into the top international spot from its second-place position last year. The results show a 15.6% increase in bookings by American travelers for cruises to the Caribbean islands. Americans also indicate a 10.6% increase in plans to travel to Europe within 12 months.


“The jump by Caribbean cruises from second place is not surprising given the good value for the money. Domestically, Alaska cruising holds its spot in the top five among U.S. vacation destinations,” said Chacko. “While some Caribbean islands were devastated by recent hurricanes that struck after the survey began, many Caribbean destinations remain unscathed and the cruise industry is responding well with itinerary changes that substitute other ports in less impacted areas. The survey results are, therefore, a fair indicator of expected demand for Caribbean vacations.”


Chacko added: “The cruise industry and the travel and tourism industry are stepping up to assist affected islands on the path to recovery and we look forward to doing all we can to aid in those efforts.”


The 2017 Fall Travel Trends Survey was conducted by Travel Leaders Group from August 10, 2017 – September 11, 2017, and includes responses from 1,107 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers, and frontline travel agents from Travel Leaders Group’s brands, including Andrew Harper, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Leisure Group, Travel Leaders Network, and Tzell Travel Group. To validate the results, following the hurricanes, Travel Leaders Network conducted a quick poll of its agents and found that interest in Caribbean cruises and Florida destinations remained strong.


Travel Leaders Group travel agents from across the U.S. were asked to name up to five of the top international and domestic destinations they are booking for the remainder of the year. The following information and trends are based on actual booking data.


Rank2017 FALL – Top DomesticPercentage2016 Rank
1Maui, HI31.8%1
2Orlando, FL30.3%2
3Las Vegas, NV24.2%4
4New York City, NY24.0%3
5Cruise – Alaska23.0%5
6Honolulu, HI16.9%7
7Los Angeles, CA14.7%6
8San Francisco, CA12.6%8
9Chicago, IL11.4%9
10Miami/Miami Beach, FL10.4%11
Rank2017 FALL – Top InternationalPercentage2016 Rank
1Cruise – Caribbean34.8%2
2Cancun, Mexico26.0%3
3London, England21.8%1
4Rome, Italy17.7%4
5Punta Cana, Dominican Republic16.5%6 (tie)
6Cruise – Europe (River)16.2%6 (tie)
7Paris, France15.8%5
8Cruise – Europe (Mediterranean)15.3%8
9Montego Bay, Jamaica10.8%9
10Playa del Carmen/Riviera Maya, Mexico10.4%11


Additional Key Findings:


Europe Travel Window: Agents were also asked about the timing of upcoming leisure travel for the majority of their clients headed to Europe. Results show that 84.5% were planning to go to Europe any time from “right now” to within 12 months. That’s a 10.6% increase over last year.


My clients want/need to go to Europe right now.





My clients are going to Europe within the next 3 months.32.1%30.0%
My clients are planning to go to Europe in the next 6-9 months.21.1%18.6%
My clients are planning to go to Europe in the next 9-12 months.19.4%18.4%
My clients are planning to go to Europe in the next 12+ months.8.0%10.1%
My clients are holding off on planning a Europe trip.7.5%13.5%


Overall Bookings for 2017: When Travel Leaders Group travel agents were asked about their overall 2017 travel bookings compared to their 2016 bookings, 86% indicated that bookings are higher than or on par with last year at this same time (56.1% stated “higher” and 29.3% said bookings are about even).


Optimism in the Travel Industry: When asked for their personal outlook on their business for the remainder of 2017, a significant majority (94.8%) indicated they are either positive or neutral. This is a slight overall uptick from 2016, but there is a 5.4 percentage point difference among those who are “optimistic” this year compared to last year.”


Neither optimistic nor pessimistic16.7%21.5%16.6%16.0%15.3%


Travel Leaders Group is one of North America’s largest travel companies – encompassing nearly one-third of all travel agents – and generated gross travel sales over $24 billion in 2016. Travel Leaders Group is a leader in both the retail travel agency space and corporate travel, and it consistently ranks as one of the top travel companies nationwide.


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About Travel Leaders Group
Travel Leaders Group (www.TravelLeadersGroup.comis transforming travel with a commitment to our vacation and business travel clients via our progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Having already assisted millions of travelers – through our beginnings as Carlson Leisure Group, a division of Carlson Companies and TraveLeaders and Tzell Travel Group – Travel Leaders Group manages leisure, business and franchise travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands, including, All Aboard Travel, ALTOUR, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, CruCon, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International,, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel. With annual sales approaching $24 billion through over 7,000 locations, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest traditional travel agency companies.

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