Throughout January various “experts” in travel press, consumer, and trade flooded us with predictions about what will be the top destinations for 2023. And guess what?
Surprise, surprise, there was virtually zero agreement among the many lists we checked out. Do you think there’s any possibility that the destinations were chosen based on the advertising dollars spent by tourism authorities? Perish the thought.
So lots of luck if you are trying to figure out the absolute number one, hottest, trendiest destination that will make your clients the talk of the town when they return.
Still, as useless as these lists may be in the final analysis, they are fun to browse through. Here are a few to dip into.
Iceland is one of Travel Weekly’s top choices, even in winter they say, when Icelanders eat, drink, and are merrier than usual, especially during the Viking month of Thor (through Feb. 23).
Also cited is Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, which, they say, can do nothing wrong. It’s a top “new” holiday destination on the Pacific coast that’s attracting a lot of attention.
Mexico is also on TravelAgent Central’s “A” list where Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso chair and CEO says the demand has increased year over year at 15 percent. He says that it’s the best value right now, adding that Mexico City and Cancun are popular.
Along with Mexico, Latin America in general is developing its hospitality sectors. For instance, in Guatemala increasing investment by major hotel chains signals its growing importance as a tourist destination. And, according to Travel Weekly, the Dominican Republic has experienced significant growth with Punta Cana leading the way. Add Jamaica to the list as well; it was a destination for more than 2 million visitors last year.
James Schillinglaw, writing in Travel Pulse, discusses Vacation.com’s top-rated destinations, which reflect the popularity of Caribbean cruises, Mediterranean cruises, Cancun, European river cruises, and Rome. The top domestic destinations being booked are, in order, Alaska cruises, Orlando, Las Vegas, New York City, and Honolulu.
Finally, what are we to make of the New York Times, which posted 52 Places to go in 2023? I wonder how many travel agents have clients who take 52 trips a year. We should all be so lucky.
Flip a coin to choose – or for the extremely well-heeled, spend a year on the road.
Note that Cuba is on the list and with the lifting of travel restrictions, it’s sure to be another top destination. But probably not in 2015. There’s still a lot that needs to get ironed out before Cuba will be open to major-scale tourism. For now, it’s limited to small groups heavily controlled by the Cuban government. Still, something to look forward to.
Another factor (aside from being magically suggested as a “top destination”) that will affect travel choices in 2023 is the strength of the US dollar. Today, every European country that uses the euro is on sale. Canada is also a bargain. The Russian ruble is in freefall. True, the real savings here don’t kick in until your clients reach the destination and start using the local currency, but this certainly opens up avenues for discussion.
The bottom line, however, is that anything goes. Use these “top destinations” lists as food for thought. The only lists of top destinations that matter are the ones in your clients’ heads and the ones that match their budgets. A travel agent who knows her clients and makes note of their preferences will be able to hone in on the destinations with the greatest appeal.