Alaska cruises dethrones Las Vegas as top U.S. destination for 2015
Alaska, enjoyed via cruising, has dethroned Las Vegas and stands at No1 in an extremely tight contest that also includes Orlando, Maui, and New York City. The single, hottest destination trend in travel last year - European river cruising - jumps up another spot in 2015 to #4 on the Top International Destinations list, just behind Caribbean cruising, Cancun (Mexico) and London, respectively.
This year's survey results also reveal that 96.5% of travel agents surveyed state client spending will be the same or higher in the coming year and 85% of agents indicate that 2015 bookings are on par or greater than this time one year ago.
This survey, based on actual booking data, was conducted by Travel Leaders Group from November 11 to December 8, 2014, and includes responses from 1,226 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents from the flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group's Cruise Holidays, Cruise Specialists, Luxury Travel Network, Nexion, Protravel International, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com units.
"For the past a decade and a half, Las Vegas and Orlando have jockeyed for the top spot in our survey. So what we are seeing, even if mere tenths of a percentage point separate our top four destinations, is a seismic shift for American travelers in 2015.
"Alaska is vast, so cruising enables one to see so much more of this enormously and stunningly beautiful area – plus, this type of vacation, which can be perceived as slightly rustic, can be as luxurious as one desires," stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben.
"Internationally, while Caribbean cruising leads the way, Europe is drawing in Americans in the highest numbers we've seen this millennium. Eight of the top 15 international destinations this year are 'across the pond,' including London (#3), European river cruises (#4), Rome (#5), Mediterranean cruises (#6) and Paris (#7).
The strong interest for those destinations plays a definite factor in our agents stating nearly 97% of their clients will be spending the same or more on their vacations in 2015." ■