Friday Briefing: Five Travel Trends to Watch in 2017

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Coming up on the close of a busy week in the travel industry, a set of major new forecasts sheds some light on what to expect in the coming year. We’ve rounded up the key points to keep in mind:

1. Overall Bookings Look Strong - Travel agents are optimistic heading into 2017. According to a Travel Leaders Network press conference Travel Agent just attended, 83 percent of Travel Leaders Network agents say that overall bookings are equal to or higher than the same time last year. Zeroing in on luxury, the picture is similar — in Travel Leaders Group’s 2017 Luxury Travel Trends report, 81 percent of luxury agents said their bookings are higher than or on par with 2016. 

2. Cruise Travel Continues to Grow - The outlook seems especially strong for cruise travel. 93 percent of Travel Leaders Network agents say that their cruise bookings are higher than or on par with last year, as well as 82.8 percent of luxury agents. According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)’s new Cruise Travel Report, those numbers are being driven in large part by Millennial and Generation Y travelers. This age group rates cruises as the best vacation type, and 90 percent who have taken a cruise say they will come back for more. That’s good news for travel agents because cruisers are particularly loyal customers — 82 percent of cruise travelers say the tend to work with a travel agent, as compared to 40 percent of non-cruise travelers.

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3. Europe Is on Top in Terms of Luxury - In spite of a challenging year for Europe travel, the continent remains a big draw for luxury clients, according to Travel Leaders Group’s 2017 Luxury Travel Trends report. Europe accounted for four of the report’s top five luxury international destinations: European river cruises at number one, as well as Italy, Mediterranean cruises and France. In Italy travelers are headed to the major cities, like Rome, Florence and Venice, as well as smaller destinations like the Amalfi Coast

4. Mass Market Closer to Home - When considering the overall travel picture, many clients seem content to stick closer to home. According to Travel Leaders Network, Caribbean cruises rank as the top overall international destination, while Orlando, Florida, is the top domestic destination. 

5. Culture Remains a Draw - Wherever they go, travelers remain committed to immersing themselves in the culture of their destination. In the 2017 Luxury Trends report, culture and history proved a top draw for many of the most popular destinations, including Italy, Ireland and New Zealand. In the latest set of Trending Destinations we’re spotlighting in our Special Report, Laos and Cambodia, new culture-focused offerings from tour operators are putting the two countries on the map. 

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