The results of the Carlson Wagonlit Travel 2006 survey find that there’s still plenty of leisure travel activity throughout the upcoming fall months.In fact, nearly two-thirds of the surveyed agents indicated that the average length of booked fall vacations is 6-7 days.
Las Vegas continues to lead the list of domestic destinations booked by Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates throughout the U.S. for fall; Florida made a surprisingly strong showing with four cities ranked in the top ten.
The survey, conducted July 24 - August 15, 2006, includes information from 334 Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates agents, owners and managers.
Beyond U.S. borders, Caribbean cruising edged out Cancun, Mexico as the top international “destination.”
A significant trend revealed throughout this survey shows that European travel is very hot.
Overall, European bookings are up, travelers have indicated they are more comfortable traveling farther from home and Rome has jumped into the top five international destinations being booked by Carlson Wagonlit Travel experts this fall.
The Italian city climbed from 7th to 4th place on this year’s list.
“Domestically the results of our fall survey show that consumers are not shying away from Florida as one of their top warm-weather destinations,” said Roger E. Block, CTC, executive vice president of Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates.
“With the variety of outstanding weather guarantee programs offered by tour operators in particular, as well as travel insurance programs, Florida is providing some of the best value among fall travel options.”
As for European travel, Block focused on the spike in interest in travel to Italy. “It is also quite evident to us that Italy has become the place to be for those traveling to Europe. In addition to Rome, we’ve seen heightened interest in experiencing Florence, Tuscany, Venice and even cruising the Mediterranean—enough for each of these options to land on our top twenty international list,” Block noted.
“The renewed fervor among Americans toward international travel has been extremely positive, whether they are headed to Europe or prefer a somewhat closer destination such as Mexico or the Caribbean,” added Block.
“However, we are still finding a disparity between those interested in traveling to close-to-home international destinations where passports are not currently required and those who hold valid passports. According to our network, less than 35% say a majority of their customers have a valid passport. Since new government regulations could require 100% passport use for air and sea travel to all international destinations as early as December 31st of this year, it is incumbent upon all of us to help educate the U.S. traveler about the need to apply now.”
When asked which statements regarding passports are accurate according to their customer base, the results are eye-opening:
% of agents
1. I’ve been advising customers of the upcoming change 87.72
2. I’ve helped more people obtain passports 48.50
3. A majority of my customers carry valid passports 31.74
4. I’ve helped more people renew passports 22.16
5. I’ve sponsored cruise nights/passport fairs/events
that enable customers to apply for passports 8.68
6. Very few of my customers carry valid passports 7.49
7. Nearly all of my customers carry valid passports 3.89
Trend Survey Results
The following lists display the top ten domestic and international destinations for the fall, along with the overall outlook for the rest of the year (based on 334 completed surveys):
Top 10 Domestic Destinations - FALL % of Agents ‘05 Ranking
1. Las Vegas, NV 80.8 1
2. Orlando, FL 73.7 2
3. Honolulu, HI 54.2 3
4. Kahului (Maui), HI 39.5 4
5. New York City, NY 37.1 5
6. San Francisco, CA 19.5 6
7. Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ 16.2 7
8. Fort Myers, FL 11.4 16
9. Fort Lauderdale, FL 11.1 15
9. Miami/Miami Beach, FL 11.1 9
Top 10 International Destinations - FALL % of Agents ‘05 Ranking
1. CRUISE- Caribbean 64.4 1
2. Cancun, Mexico 62.3 2
3. Riviera Maya, Mexico 38.3 3
4. Rome, Italy 33.8 7
5. Montego Bay, Jamaica 22.5 4
6. London, England 22.2 10
7. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 21.6 9
7. Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, Mexico 21.3 8
9. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 19.8 12
10. CRUISE- Mexico 16.5 6
10. Playa del Carmen, Mexico 16.5 5
Top 10 FALL Cruise Destinations % of Agents
1. Caribbean - Western 36.5
2. Caribbean - Eastern 17.4
3. Mexican Riviera 10.2
4. Caribbean - Southern 8.7
5. Europe - Mediterranean 6.0
Top 3 Trends in 2006 % of agents
1. International travel seems to be on the rebound 63.5
2. Clients are feeling more confident about traveling
farther from home 56.9
3. Europe bookings are up over last year 53.0
What is the average length of the vacations you’ve been booking
for THIS FALL?
2006 Response - Fall % of agents
Less than 4 days 0.60
4-5 days 19.46
6-7 days 65.87
8-10 days 11.68
10-14 days 1.80
Longer than 14 days 0.60
What is your personal outlook on your business for 2006?
2006 Response % of agents
Very optimistic 21.56
Fairly optimistic 53.89
TOTAL OPTIMISTIC 75.45
Neither optimistic/pessimistic 18.56
Comparing your overall 2006 travel bookings so far to your 2005 bookings
at this time last year, which is true?
2006 Response %
They’re higher 55.7
They’re about even 22.75