Stats: 78% of Agents Optimistic About Rest of 2017

When asked for their personal outlook on their business for the remainder of 2017, a significant majority (94.8%) indicated they are either positive or neutral.

Maui is the place to be this fall, according to Travel Leaders Groups new 2017 Fall Travel Trends survey.

The survey of the 1,107 travel agency professionals found Orlando, Las Vegas, New York City and Alaska cruises rounding out the top five domestic destinations.

The domestic results indicate that Maui, which has long been a sought-after destination for American travelers, has staying power, but Orlando remains a close second, said Travel Leaders Group Chief Executive Officer Ninan Chacko in a written release. The quick return of Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resorts to normal business hours after Hurricane Irma is a sign of the continued interest travelers have in the destination.

Caribbean cruises eased into the top international spot from its second-place position last year. The results show a 15.6 percent increase in bookings by American travelers for cruises to the Caribbean islands. Americans also indicate a 10.6 percent increase in plans to travel to Europe within 12 months.

The jump by Caribbean cruises from second place is not surprising given the good value for the money. Domestically, Alaska cruising holds its spot in the top five among U.S. vacation destinations, said Chacko. While some Caribbean islands were devastated by recent hurricanes that struck after the survey began, many Caribbean destinations remain unscathed and the cruise industry is responding well with itinerary changes that substitute other ports in less impacted areas. The survey results are, therefore, a fair indicator of expected demand for Caribbean vacations.

Chacko added: The cruise industry and the travel and tourism industry are stepping up to assist affected islands on the path to recovery and we look forward to doing all we can to aid in those efforts.

The 2017 Fall Travel Trends Survey was conducted by Travel Leaders Group from August 10, 2017 – September 11, 2017, and includes responses from 1,107 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers, and frontline travel agents from Travel Leaders Groups brands, including Andrew Harper, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Leisure Group, Travel Leaders Network, and Tzell Travel Group. To validate the results, following the hurricanes, Travel Leaders Network conducted a quick poll of its agents and found that interest in Caribbean cruises and Florida destinations remained strong.

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

Top 2017 Domestic Destinations

Rank Destination Percentage 2016 Rank
1 Maui 31.8% 1
2 Orlando 30.3% 2
3 Las Vegas 24.2% 4
4 New York City 24.0% 3
5 Cruise - Alaska 23.0% 5
6 Honolulu 16.9% 7
7 Los Angeles 14.7% 6
8 San Francisco 12.6% 8
9 Chicago 11.4% 9
10 Miami / Miami Beach 10.4% 11

Top 2017 International Destinations

Rank Destination Percentage 2016 Rank
1 Cruise - Caribbean 34.8% 2
2 Cancun, Mexico 26.0% 3
3 London, England 21.8% 1
4 Rome, Italy 17.7% 4
5 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 16.5% 6 (tie)
6 Cruise - Europe (River) 16.2% 6 (tie)
7 Paris, France 15.8% 5
8 Cruise - Europe (Mediterranean) 15.3% 8
9 Montego Bay, Jamaica 10.8% 9
10 Playa del Carmen / Riviera Maya, Mexico 10.4% 11

Additional Key Findings

Europe Travel Window: Agents were also asked about the timing of upcoming leisure travel for the majority of their clients headed to Europe. Results show that 84.5 percent were planning to go to Europe any time from right now to within 12 months. Thats a 10.6 percent increase over last year.

  2017 2016
My clients want / need to go to Europe right now.  11.9% 9.4%
My clients are going to Europe within the next three months. 32.1% 30.0%
My clients are planning to go to Europe in the next six to nine months. 21.1% 18.6%
My clients are planning to go to Europe in the next nine to 12 months. 19.4% 18.4%
My clients are planning to go to Europe in the next 12+ months. 8.0% 10.1%
My clients are holding off on planning a Europe trip.  7.5% 13.5%

Overall Bookings for 2017: When Travel Leaders Group travel agents were asked about their overall 2017 travel bookings compared to their 2016 bookings, 86 percent indicated that bookings are higher than or on par with last year at this same time (56.1 percent stated higher and 29.3 percent said bookings are about even).

Optimism in the Travel Industry: When asked for their personal outlook on their business for the remainder of 2017, a significant majority (94.8%) indicated they are either positive or neutral. This is a slight overall uptick from 2016, but there is a 5.4 percentage point difference among those who are optimistic this year compared to last year.

Source: Travel Leaders Group

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