Gay Nagle Myers
Gay Nagle Myers

Lots of polls have been taken, surveys done, questions asked, votes cast. Leading publications, online and print, have touted their readers' responses as to where to hit the road or, in the case of the islands, the beaches in 2019.

Various islands in the Caribbean showed up in many surveys. Afar's readers recognized  Cuba as a top choice in their 2019 travel plans, while Travel & Leisure readers touted the Grenadines.

Travel advisers weighed in, as well. Anguilla topped the list of  Signature Travel Group's emerging destinations in 2019. The results of a recent Travel Leaders Group survey of 3,500 consumers found that the Caribbean region was the number one pick among international destinations for travel this year. The region came up as number two as the most favored destination among solo travelers.

Virtuoso cited Cotton House in Mustique as surging in the "private retreats" category, while Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands came in as tops in the "recovery and revitalization" category.

Several travel pros offered their perspectives based on one-on-one contact with clients.

Wendy Murphy, a travel consultant with Frosch in New York, said of Anguilla: "People are going back as the beaches are gorgeous, and they get the added adventure of popping around to local, fun, inexpensive restaurants."

Other spots on the comeback trail include St. Kitts, "an island where you can leave the hotel and have an adventure," according to Murphy, who cited the Park Hyatt in particular. "Clients love the spa and the hotel brand." Jamaica's Round Hill and the newly renovated Half Moon are a big hit with families. And Grenada, she said, "is getting some buzz. There's lots of variety in hotels for our clients. The very contemporary Silversands just opened."

Another property favored by Murphy's clients is the all-inclusive Curtain Bluff in Antigua.

"There's a certain ease about it," she said. "No waiting for checks, no signing your life away for expensive activities or kids drinking 10 Cokes a day at the pool. Even the affluent don't like being nickeled and dimed." She added that the resort "definitely picked up business from closed hotels in Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands."

While activities  favored by her clients remained pretty much the same -- relaxation, beach, water sports -- Murphy pointed out that "spas have really become a big part of selling Caribbean hotels."

Linda Welch, owner of Blue Ash Travel in Cincinnati, is an expert in all-inclusive resorts  she's visited 228 of them -- and she touted the Royalton brand as a client favorite.

"My clients love a new resort at a great value," Welch said. "Having new offerings such as the Flowrider and the lazy river underground swim-up bar at the new Royalton Bavaro in the Dominican Republic gets them excited about something a little different for their upcoming vacation."

An emerging hotspot for her clients is the Costa Esmeralda area in the D.R. north of Punta Cana. It's the site of the new Club Med Miches, slated to open late this year. Welch is optimistic that the resort will be a hit with honeymooners who like to travel to destinations their friends have not visited.

"It gives them bragging rights," she said.

Margie Hand, a travel adviser with Andavo Travel in Birmingham, Ala., said that St. Lucia and the Turks and Caicos remain popular with her clients.

"Grenada has continued to grow in popularity, and I have had a lot more requests recently for Guadeloupe and Martinique," Hand said. "They are considered Zika free, less touristy and offer a wide array of adventures to enjoy."

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