Gay Nagle Myers
Gay Nagle Myers

As the year draws to a close, several surveys have been released that forecast what lies ahead in 2017 for consumer travel.

Although the Caribbean region as such was not the focal point of the forecast from Choice Hotels International, the survey's results could help travel advisers understand the mindset of their clients as the new travel year dawns.

The good news is that this year's survey, based on a nationwide sampling of 1,070 adults who plan one or more leisure trips in 2017, said that Americans plan to increase travel spending next year.

"Even though Americans are busier than ever, our survey reinforces that travel matters," said Patrick Pacious, president and COO of Choice. "People are willing to spend significantly more than last year to explore new places."

Those sampled plan to take take three trips on average in 2017, in line with 2016. Leisure travel budgets are up 42% over 2016, from $3,572 to $5,063.

On what do travelers splurge when they travel? According to the 2017 projections, food and beverages top the list, at 43%. Out of their total travel budget, Americans will end up spending approximately 30% on accommodations.

And 27% of respondents named Cuba as their dream international trip (Australia came out on top followed by South America). To budget a trip to their dream destination, half of the respondents said they would forego daily coffee and all holiday gifts.

The survey answers suggested that millennials prefer beach and urban city destinations, compared to baby boomers who are 31% more likely to go for off-the-beaten path sites and experiences.

Another survey, this by Travel Leaders Group, revealed that Havana was climbing high among top international destinations: It jumped 12 places, to the 49th spot overall, and among luxury agents it ranked 24.

Of the top 10 international destinations in 2017, Punta Cana came in at number six, down from No. 5, and Montego Bay remained in ninth place.

"Our travel experts have been telling us that there is pent-up demand for travel," said CEO Ninan Chacko. "Many individuals waited to see what would happen with the U.S. presidential elections and the stock market immediately following the elections."

According to the survey, which included responses from 1,689 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline agents from the flagship Travel Leaders brand and eight of the Travel Leaders Group's agencies, nearly 95% of agents said that client spending will be the same or higher in 2017.

On cruise destinations, the Caribbean again took the No. 1 spot.

"With the New Year on the horizon, our agents and their clients have been extremely busy planning trips throughout the country and to destinations around the globe," Chacko said.


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