Carlson survey: Vegas most popular this fall

Las Vegas and Caribbean cruises are the most popular domestic and international vacation destinations and activities for fall 2004, according to Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates annual Late Summer/Fall Travel Trends Survey.

The survey, which polled 313 Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associate owners, managers and front-line agents, was conducted July 8 to Aug. 12.

When asked to forecast the five most popular U.S. destinations/activities for late summer/fall 2004 based on their bookings and customer interest, 76% of respondents named Las Vegas in the domestic category and 70.6% picked Caribbean cruising in the international category.

Completing the top five domestic destinations were Orlando, 72.8%; Maui, 54.6%; Honolulu, 47%; and Alaska cruises, 32.6%. Rounding out the top five for international destinations were Cancun, Mexico, 64.5%; Riviera Maya, Mexico, 40.6%; Jamaica, 30%; and Mexico cruises, 24%.

Respondents also were asked to compare current booking levels with those from the same time last year. The results reflect the trades growing confidence in the resurgence of travel.

Seventy-two percent said that the number of bookings are higher this year than last, 20% said they are about even and 8% said they are lower.

When respondents were asked to select the reasons why customers are traveling more this year (participants could select more than one response), 45% checked pent-up demand -- just dont want to wait any longer. Thirty-one percent checked never stopped traveling in the first place and 25% checked renewed confidence in the economy.

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