Travel Leaders: Cuba, Venice Draw Traveler Interest for 2016

Photo by Huidici

Cuba and Venice are among the destinations capturing the interest of travelers for 2016, according to the latest survey findings from Travel Leaders Group

Survey participants indicating they’d “go immediately” to Cuba if all government restrictions were lifted has risen to nearly 11 percent, with gains also charted among those who have already been there. This year’s survey also explored the Top 20 International Destinations already being booked for 2016 by Travel Leaders Group agents by asking travelers to rank their desire to visit each; the top “must see” destination was Venice, Italy, followed by Florence (Tuscany), Rome, London and Dublin, respectively. The survey was conducted April 4 to April 30, 2016, and includes responses from 3,431 consumers throughout the United States.

Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko said that Friday’s announcement of the approval of commercial flights to Cuba was another major step toward more American visitors to the country. 

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Cuba Travel

The number of Americans interested in travel to Cuba if all U.S. Government restrictions are lifted continued to increase year-over-year. Conversely, the number who indicated they have no interest in traveling to Cuba has decreased substantially since last year.

  2016 2015 2014
I've already been there 3.2% 2.0% 1.6%
I'd go immediately 10.9% 8.8% 6.9%
I would go as soon as I believed Cuba was ready for Americans 16.4% 14.9% 11.5%
I might consider going 34.3% 35.4% 32.4%
I have no interest in going 35.1% 39.0% 47.6%

“Must See” International Destinations

Based on Travel Leaders Group’s Top 20 International Destinations for 2016 – those destinations that Travel Leaders Group travel agents were booking the most heading into this year – survey participants were asked to rate their interest level in visiting these particular destinations. Response options included: “must see,” “very interested,” “interested,” “little interest,” and “no interest.”

    Must See Interested or Very Interested
1 Venice, Italy 30.2% 51.2%
2 Florence and/or Tuscany, Italy 28.8% 55.2%
3 Rome, Italy 28.4% 51.7%
4 London, England 25.7% 54.4%
5 Dublin, Ireland 24.5% 53.6%
6 Paris, France 24.4% 48.9%
7 CRUISE - Europe (River) 20.2% 48.5%
8 Barcelona, Spain 19.6% 57.7%
9 CRUISE - Europe (Mediterranean) 16.1% 51.5%
10 Amsterdam, the Netherlands 14.7% 56.7%
11 CRUISE - Caribbean 13.3% 45.6%
12 CRUISE - Europe (Baltic) 12.1% 48.1%
13 Aruba 11.1% 49.2%
14 Cabo San Lucas / Los Cabos, Mexico 9.6% 49.2%
15 Playa del Carmen / Riviera Maya, Mexico 8.9% 45.1%
16 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 8.2% 46.2%
17 Montego Bay, Jamaica 7.6% 42.9%
18 Cancun, Mexico 6.7% 42.1%
19 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 6.1% 42.3%
20 CRUISE - Mexico 4.3% 30.3%

“Overall, we can confidently say that the demand for leisure travel is still very strong,” Chacko said. “Our survey also revealed that more than nine out of 10 participants will take the same number or more leisure trips in 2016.”

Additional Key Findings

Over 96 percent of those polled said they “have or will take” at least one leisure trip this year. More than 91 percent indicated that the total number of leisure trips they anticipate taking in 2016 will be either the same or more than last year (36.5 percent say “more” while 54.6 percent say “the same”).

Also, 7 percent of those polled stated they will spend the same or more on leisure trips this year versus 2015 (42.4 percent will spend “more” and 44.3 percent will spend “the same” on their leisure trips as compared to last year). When asked whether participants’ leisure trips were land-based, cruise-only or a combination of both, the results (compared to previous years) showed:

  2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
Land-based only 52.5% 67.1% 60.1% 59.9% 63.5% 77.3%
Cruise only 5.0% 5.7% 2.8% 2.7% 2.3% 1.5%
Both land-based and cruise vacations 42.5% 27.2% 37.1% 37.4% 34.3% 21.2%

With the vast majority of survey participants indicating they will take at least one leisure trip in 2016, it was also important to find out how far they are traveling from home, Travel Leaders said. Selecting all options that apply to their leisure trip(s) this year, the top responses were:

Travel within the U.S. and farther than a bordering state 79.6%
Travel within your home state 54.9%
Travel internationally (Canada, Mexico and/or the Caribbean) 51.1%
Travel to a bordering state 48.2%
Travel internationally (Europe) 33.3%

Source: Travel Leaders Group

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