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Fall travel trends: London and Maui secure top international and US positions

Aug 30, 2016

PLYMOUTH, MN - There is new, concrete data indicating that American travelers are indeed using the "Brexit Benefit" to their advantage, according to Travel Leaders Group.

Today, the travel industry powerhouse – long known for its comprehensive travel survey information – released findings from its most recent nationwide survey of travel agents, and, for the first time ever in its Fall Travel Survey, London claimed the #1 ranking among international destinations. Just as impressive, Maui, Hawaii, also attained its first top ranking as Travel Leaders Group's Top U.S. Destination for the remainder of the year – last year it ranked third. Orlando, New York City, Las Vegas, and Alaska cruises rounded out the top five domestic destinations.

This survey was conducted by Travel Leaders Group from July 28 - August 24, 2016, and includes responses from 1,145 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 Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and units.

"The 'Brexit' vote and resulting fluctuation in the British pound has been incredibly favorable for American travelers, whether for leisure or business trips. While London has always been among the top international destinations on our list, this is further proof that travelers are very willing to adjust and seize upon a prime opportunity when there's increased value in a particular destination," stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko.

"Domestically, Maui has long been among the most sought after destinations for American travelers, but had never surpassed Orlando, Las Vegas or New York City for the top spot. Because the Zika virus has had an impact on some individuals' travel decisions, particularly those who are pregnant, Maui's positioning has been bolstered by having no cases of locally-transmitted Zika."

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

Rank 2016 FALL - Top Domestic Percentage 2015 Rank

1 Maui, HI 34.1% 3
2 Orlando, FL 32.4% 2
3 New York City, NY 30.5% 1
4 Las Vegas, NV 28.0% 4
5 Cruise – Alaska 25.5% 5
6 Los Angeles, CA 19.6% 6
7 Honolulu, HI 18.8% 8
8 San Francisco, CA 17.2% 7
9 Chicago, IL 14.2% 9
10 Washington, D.C. 12.4% 10

Rank 2016 FALL - Top International Percentage 2015 Rank

1 London, England 31.0% 3
2 Cruise – Caribbean 30.1% 1
3 Cancun, Mexico 29.1% 2
4 Rome, Italy 23.2% 5
5 Paris, France 17.7% 6
6 (tie) CRUISE – Europe (River) 17.5% 4
6 (tie) Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 17.5% 8
8 CRUISE – Europe (Mediterranean) 13.6% 7
9 Montego Bay, Jamaica 10.8% 10
10 Florence and/or Tuscany, Italy 10.0% 9

Additional Key Findings:

"Brexit" and the British Pound: When specifically asking those who counsel clients on leisure travel whether the increased value of the U.S. dollar compared to the British pound amplified interest among clients in travel to countries within the United Kingdom, 45% responded affirmatively.

• Of the segment of Travel Leaders Group travel agents indicating clients had increased interest in travel to countries within the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland), 61.9% also reported an increase in bookings to the UK.

Europe Travel Bookings: Despite considerable news coverage of several security-related incidents in Europe, half of the Top 10 International Destinations being booked for the remainder of the year are for European destinations – including #5 Paris, France.

Here are additional insights into European leisure travel…

• Overall Land-based Travel: When asked, "Compared to this time last year, how are your overall 2016 Europe land-based bookings?" 74.8% said their bookings are higher than or equal to this time last year (31.1% state "higher" while 43.7% state bookings are even).

o For all travel agents stating their bookings of land-based leisure travel to Europe are up over last year, 72.1% stated that the favorable exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and euro has been a factor in their increased bookings.

• Luxury Land-based Travel: When the same question about overall 2016 land-based bookings was asked, but specifically regarding luxury land-based European vacations, 82.5% of agents who book luxury travel to Europe indicated that their luxury bookings are the same or higher than this time last year (28.8% state "higher" and 53.6% say bookings are equal to last year).

o According to Travel Leaders Group agents, the stronger U.S. dollar played a factor in bookings for 70.5% of their luxury travel clients.

Fall travel trends: London and Maui secure top international and US positions

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