Tuesday Brefing: Amex Talks Top Travel Trends for 2017, Baha Mar Buyer Confirmed

2017
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American Express Travel's top trends for 2017, confirmation on a buyer for Baha Mar and a fire at the Capital Hilton hotel are the travel industry headlines to watch today. 

American Express Travel Highlights Top Travel Trends of 2017

A concierge-like approach to travel, design hotels and a post-Brexit surge are some of the top travel trends American Express Travel experts are watching in the year ahead. The organization just released its list of top travel trends for 2017:

Travel Agents, the New Concierges: Personalization and streamlined service are key motivators for today's luxury traveler, Amex said. 

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A Move Toward the Front: In terms of air travel, first-class bookings are up 208 percent year over year, with Amex attributing much of the increase to airline fees for various parts of the flying experience, from priority boarding to baggage allowance. “We’ve noticed that weary air travelers are opting for the convenience and value of paying one first-class fare to get it all, enhancing their overall experience and making first-class air travel the new version of the luxury all-inclusive frontier,” Claire Bennett, executive vice president, American Express Travel, said in a written release. 

Extended Explorers Emerge: There has been an average 26 percent year over year increase in length of stay for advanced bookings among the top 20 international destinations, and age is not always a factor. Technology and the ability to remain connected are enabling travelers to plug in while on the road, making it easier to extend vacations. 

Hotels as Lifestyle Brands: Equinox, West Elm, Baccarat, Bulgari, Nobu and Restoration Hardware are among the brands breaking new ground in the travel and hospitality space, joining design-focused brands from established hoteliers like Marriott’s Edition and Hyatt’s Andaz. American Express reports a more than 30 percent spike in bookings for design-focused hotels for 2017. 

The top trending destinations for 2017 are:

  • Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  • Goa, India
  • Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Bozeman, Montana
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Vancouver, Canada
  • Fogo Island, Newfoundland
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • London, England
  • Paris, France

Source: American Express Travel

Confirmed: Hong Kong-Based Company to Buy Baha Mar

In the Caribbean, Hong Kong-based conglomerate Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd (CTFE) will buy mega-resort project Baha Mar, Prime Minister Perry Christie confirmed to the Bahamas Tribune. The move came after a delegation from the government of the Bahamas traveled to Hong Kong for meetings with CTFE last week. 

The resort, which was originally scheduled to open in December 2014, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after missing several opening deadlines. In a series of joint statements both the Prime Minister and CTFE promised to dedicate significant resources to the opening of the resort. 

Fire Forces Evacuation of Capital Hilton Hotel

An early morning fire forced the evacuation of the Capital Hilton hotel in downtown Washington, the Washington Post reports. No one was injured in the fire, which authorities said may have started in the laundry room. 

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