In mid-December, Travel Leaders Group released its initial findings from its 2017 Travel Trends Survey. Based on booking data, Travel Leaders Group’s survey was conducted November 17-December 9, 2016, with responses from 1,689 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents from the flagship Travel Leaders brand and Travel Leaders Group’s All Aboard Travel, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com units.
Using that data, we’ve compiled a list of the top warm weather destinations – both domestically and internationally – that are sure to be hits during 2017.
10. Miami Beach, Florida
Opening in Miami Beach during 2017 will be The Greystone Hotel. Located across the street from the beach in the entertainment center of Miami Beach and two blocks away from the Miami Beach Convention Center, the new property will offer 91 boutique guest rooms, a 140 seat restaurant, 6,000 square feet of flexible event space and a basement speak easy record club.
9. Montego Bay, Jamaica
Montego Bay might be a new must-visit destination for travelers from the mid continental U.S., as Vacation Express is now offering the first ever non-stop flight from Cleveland to Jamaica in over 10 years. Flown on a Boeing 737 by Swift Air, the flights from Cleveland to Jamaica will depart Saturdays between May 27 and July 1, 2017.
Popular in the Caribbean but new to Jamaica will be Sandals Royal Caribbean’s newest Over-the-Water Bungalows. The private Over-the-Water bungalows and villas will feature private water hammocks, glass floors, private infinity pools, Jacuzzi tubs, outdoor showers and more. Reservations are being accepted now for stays starting February 1, 2017.
Also new to Montego Bay will be the Spanish Court Hotel, formerly known as the Breezes Montego Bay. Slated to open during the summer of 2017, the property will have 120 guest rooms located on the beach in Montego Bay upon the conclusion for the $12.5 million upgrade. The hotel will also have a rooftop bar boasting views of the beach, a café, two on site restaurants, a spa, gym, pool and outdoor bar.
8. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Club Med All-Inclusive Resorts is offering two new deals to help travelers recharge and reconnect. The brand is offering exclusive Power Up Sales and Early Booking Rate deals at eight of its resorts, including in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Guests may book now through January 10, 2017, for travel by June 24, 2017, to 35 Club Med resorts worldwide. Through the packages, accommodations start at $119 per person per night (reduced from $258), up to a $300 air credit for travel to Punta Cana and a variety of other Caribbean and Mexican destinations.
Also exciting in Punta Cana: fans of Justin Bieber will want to head to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana in 2017, as the popular singer is performing a show at the venue on April 15, 2017.
7. Los Angeles, California
Slated to open in June 2017 is the new Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. The new property, which is accepting reservations now, will offer 170 rooms spread over 12 floors, with 51 oversized balconies and 360 degree views of the city. On site will be the 5,000 square foot Spa by La Prairie, which will have six private treatment rooms and two relaxation rooms. For group events, the Waldorf Beverly Hills will offer over 6,300 square feet of usable indoor and outdoor space, well suited for hosting anything from business meetings to weddings under the stars. It will also have the largest rooftop pool in the area.
To get out of Los Angeles, getting from Los Angeles to Europe is now going to be easier, thanks to Austrian Airlines’ new flight service from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Vienna, starting in April of 2017. The addition of the route marks the airline’s first time flying from the west coast of the U.S., and will offer up to six direct flights per week on a Boeing 777.
Down on San Julian Street at City Market South, a new Fashion District multi-use complex is preparing to welcome Sotto chef Steve Samson’s new culinary concept Rossoblu. With an opening date set for February 2017, both the name and the cuisine in the restaurant are inspired by the middle mountain regions of Italy, where Samson spent time growing up. The menu will feature selections from the Emilia-Romanga and Bologna areas of Italy, served in an indoor and outdoor setting with patio seating and a downstairs private dining room.
6. Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu can expect an influx of basketball fans visiting during 2017, as the Hawaii Tourism Authority recently announced a partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the L.A. Clippers team, who are promoting travel to the Hawaiian Islands and are bringing the Clippers to Honolulu, where the team will host its 2017 training camp on the University of Hawaii campus. During the training season, the Clippers will host a Fan Fest, featuring the team’s players and coaches. Dates for the training camp and its events have yet to be announced, though they will be during the 2017 pre-basketball season.
5. Las Vegas, Nevada
Beginning early 2017, guests can make reservations for CHICA, the new dining concept created by John Kunkel that’s part of 50 Eggs at The Venetian. CHICA marks the second time Kunkel has partnered with The Venetian following the recently developed Yardbird Southern Table & Bar. CHICA will be open daily for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, featuring a menu from chef Lorena Garcia, influenced heavily by cuisine from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.
Two new shows are slated to make their debut at the Tropicana Las Vegas come the New Year: Cherry Cherry Boom Boom and Band of Magicians. Both produced by entertainment executive Howard Weiss, the shows opened in late 2016 but are expected to grow exponentially during 2017. Cherry Cherry Boom Boom is a sexy, modern stage production that’s telling a universal love story through, dance, acting, music and specialty acts through a new “Rock ‘n Roll a Go-Go” genre. Tickets for the show start at $59, and audience members must be 18 years of age or older. Band of Magicians is more than your typical Las Vegas magic show, with four of the world’s brightest young magicians in their new group. Both shows run Wednesday through Monday inside the Tropicana Theater, with Band of Magicians starting at 7 p.m. and Cherry Cherry Boom Boom at 9 p.m. Tickets for this show start at $39.
Other new residencies in Vegas during 2017 include Cher and the Backstreet Boys.
4. Cancun, Mexico
Exciting news out of Cancun is the opening of Hotel Xcaret, slated to open its doors during 2017. The 900-room property will sit on the grounds of the award-winning theme park Xcaret Park. The resort, which is currently under construction, will be the first hotel to hold an EarthCheck certification for its planning and design.
Temptation Resort & Spa Cancun is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation project. The property closed for renovations on September 25, 2016, and is scheduled to reopen again in August of 2017. Featuring revamped designs from Karim Rashid, the seven-story building will now feature 430 newly designed rooms and suites, as well as restaurants, bars and more.
Not-to-miss events in Cancun during 2017 include Cirque Eloize ID at Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort, running now through January 3, 2017, and the sixth annual Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival, March 16-19, 2017.
3. Maui, Hawaii
Slated to open in 2017 is The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas on Kaanapali Beach in Maui. A Starwood Vacation Ownership property – part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide – the 16-acre oceanfront resort will feature 390 villas and a variety of amenities, including a lagoon style pool and a beach bar. A full-service restaurant will offer ocean views and a menu of Hawaiian and international cuisines, plus the Westin brand’s signature SuperFoodsRX menu with nutrient-rich options.
2. Orlando, Florida
Orlando has become known as the go-to family destination for theme parks, and that will not be changing in 2017. New to Universal Orlando Resort will be the Volcano Bay water park. Slated for a 2017 opening, the water park is being constructed just south of the Cabana Bay Beach Resort and will offer a variety of thrilling attractions as well as relaxation stations in an immersive, tropical island-inspired environment.
Football fans won’t want to miss the inaugural NFL Pro Bowl game, scheduled at the Camping World Stadium in Downtown Orlando for January 29, 2017. Along with the game, the NFL is also introducing a brand new Pro Bowl Week, which includes accessible team practices at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Disney World.
Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney, is welcoming The Edison restaurant to its culinary scene. Inspired by The Edison venue in Los Angeles, the restaurant/bar will feature an “industrial gothic” façade and vibe. The Orlando location will replicate the themed 1920s-period power plant for a nighttime destination and will serve classic American cuisine, crafty cocktails and live entertainment.
1. Caribbean Cruising
Travel Leaders has named the Caribbean to be the most popular warm-weathered destination for 2017. More specifically, the group expects Caribbean cruising to be the most popular method of travel for those visiting the islands come the New Year. This is likely in part due to the number of new Caribbean itineraries added by various cruise lines to their 2017 itineraries.
New for 2017, Celebrity Cruise Line has announced new overnights and double overnights in Caribbean destinations like Aruba, Barbados and Curacao. The line also unveiled its first-ever Mardi Gras and Caribbean Signature Event Sailing, taking guests on an 11-night sailing during Mardi Gras through George Town, Grand Cayman; Puerto Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico and New Orleans.
In the announcement of its new fall and winter 2017 and 2018 itineraries, Norwegian Cruise Line revealed cruises to the Caribbean and the Bahamas from New York, Port Canaveral and Miami. The Norwegian Epic will sail alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, stopping at destinations including Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, among others.
Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises has announced it will redeploy the luxury yacht Crystal Espirit to the Caribbean for November 2017 and all of 2018, following guest demand for travel experiences closer to major transit hubs. The ship will sail round trip on Sundays from Marigot Bay, St. Martin and offer two seven-day itineraries that are combinable for extended vacations: British Virgin Islands & Saint-Barthélemy Yachting Escape and West Indies Yachting Explorer.
Honorable Mention: Playa Del Carmen/Riviera Maya, Mexico
There’s a lot on the radar for the 11 most popular warm-weathered travel destination for 2017. Set to open on the Riviera Maya on March 1, 2017, is UNICO 20°87°. The hotel, whose name refers to its geographic coordinates, will have 448 guestrooms (some with swim-up pools); a wellness center; spa; five restaurants; six bars plus a conference center. Guests have access to an anfitrión, or a personalized local host, 24 hours a day. Bonus: the hotel’s all-inclusive concept extends to some spa treatments, golf and off-site excursions.