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Australia and Hawaii Rank as Most Desired Destinations

Culture, adventure, and culinary-themed trips are the most preferred

Travel Leaders Group revealed the results of a recent consumer travel trends survey  this month that shows Australia, United Kingdom and Canada top travelers’ international wish list for future travel, followed by Italy, Greece and Ireland. European and Caribbean cruising also ranked in the top 10.

According to the survey, 95 percent of approximately 2,000 respondents plan to travel in 2020, and the majority (52 percent) plan on spending more money on travel next year than they did in 2019.  

“Australia is on everyone’s bucket list, and a favorable exchange rate makes travel to the U.K. attractive, so we’re not surprised to see these two destinations take the top spots on this year’s consumer travel wish list,” said Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko. “Canada is also becoming increasingly popular for adventure travel and its natural beauty.”

The top wish list international destinations for 2020 are:

1.        Australia

2.        United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales)

3.        Canada

4.        Italy

5.        Greece

6.        Ireland

7.        European River Cruises

8.        Caribbean Cruises

9.        French Polynesia

10.      Mediterranean Cruises

While consumers may dream of traveling to new places in the future, the actual top international destinations where they have already begun planning to travel to in 2020 are:

1.        The Caribbean

2.        Western Europe

3.        Mexico

4.        United Kingdom and/or Ireland

5.        Eastern Europe (tie)

5.        Canada (tie)

Topping the traveler wish list of U.S. destinations for consumers are Hawaii, followed by California and Alaska.

1.        Hawaii

2.        California

3.        Alaska

4.        Florida

5.        Colorado

6.        New York

7.        Maine

8.        Arizona

9.        Montana

10.      Washington D.C.

“Travelers continue to express interest in solo trips,” continued Chacko. “We see more cruise companies offering single fares and more tour operators developing programs to entice solo travelers with special interests.”

Among solo travelers, the top five U.S. destinations they are most interested in traveling to in 2020 are:

1.        Florida (tie)

1.        California (tie)

2.        Hawaii

3.        New York

4.        Alaska

5.        Colorado

For solo travelers, the top five international regions they are most interested in traveling to in 2020 are:

1.        Canada

2.        United Kingdom

3.        Australia

4.        Italy

5.        Greece

Chacko also noted that the trend toward experiential travel continues with vacation-goers seeking authentic encounters in the destinations they visit involving food, culture, nature and active adventure. “We see a strong correlation between a strong economy and low unemployment rates with increased consumer interest in discovering a destination and a willingness to spend on immersive experiences and luxury accommodations.”

According to the survey, the top five most important elements when choosing a destination are: Cultural (65 percent), Nature/Outdoors (49 percent), Beach/Pool (40 percent), Active Adventure (38 percent) and Culinary (34 percent). Special sites/attractions (59 percent) are one of the most remembered elements of a vacation after spectacular scenery (80 percent). And when it comes to spending, North Americans are most likely to splurge on sightseeing/tours (74 percent), special meals at restaurants (51 percent) and luxury accommodations (35 percent).

Meanwhile, in time for Christmas the travel agent network showcased its list of ‘Vacations of a Lifetime’ Around the World, with two dozen picks across six continents are featured in its 64-page annual guide, Bucket List 2020 Vacations. Experiences recommended by destination experts include stops in Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe and North and South America.

A Slice of Europe: France

AmaWaterways’ 7-day river cruise on the La Gironde river is recommended for anyone interested in the best of French culture, lifestyle, wine, and food. Travelers experience the iconic châteaux, timeless vineyards and distinctive flavors only found in this region of the world.

Destinations include picturesque towns in the legendary Spanish Basque country and France’s wine capital, Bordeaux. There’s a stop in Saint-Émilion, named after a miracle-working Benedictine monk, and the medieval village of Bourg, for an exclusive wine festival with live French music and dancing. Travelers also get to sample Libourne’s colorful open-air market, a gateway to one of Bordeaux’s most elite wine regions. There are departures March through November 2020.

Australia – an Epic Adventure

On an immersive, two-week adventure, travelers can experience the wonders of Australia, home to the world’s largest coral reef system, comprising 130,000 square miles, as well as lush green mountains and flourishing rainforests. On a visit to the Gondwana rainforests of Northern Australia, learn how they are thought to be a living link to the vegetation that once covered the ancient subcontinent of Gondwana.

At the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains or the Great Barrier Reef take in hiking and later snorkeling. One can even hike to the top of the Kings Canyon and later visit Uluru / Ayers Rock, the large sandstone rock formation in remote central Australia that is revered by the area’s Aboriginal people. Don’t miss the 36 sacred ochre-colored rock domes of Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), which take on a magical glow at sunrise and sunset. A trip to Australia is not complete without a culinary tour and sailing in a yacht on Sydney Harbor, home to the distinctive white sail-shaped shells of the Sydney Opera House. Travelers can book this epic Australia adventure until November 2020.

The Danube: A River’s Journey

A journey along the Danube River allows one to travel the path that has inspired generations of artists passing through Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia. From the hills that come alive with music in Salzburg and Vienna to the architecture in the capital cities of Budapest and Prague, there is something unique to explore in every corner. Feast like royalty during a “Tastes of Slovakia” tour of Bratislava, which is known as the “Coronation City of Kings.” Marvel at the Gothic and Baroque architecture during a walking tour in the city of Passau, Germany and sample local wines at a vineyard in Dürnstein and later sip more at a wine reception in the 500-year-old Greinburg Castle.  

North America: Nature Unbound

Alaska presents a tapestry of majestic natural splendor all year long, but June to August is an ideal experience. There are cobalt-blue glaciers; primeval fjords; breaching orca whales and otters at play. Bald eagles soar above and black bears forage across immense landscapes. Among the highlights of a Holland America Line 14-day cruise leaving from Vancouver are the awesome sculpting power of the ice surrounding several fjords and glaciers, including the Tracy Arm Fjord, the Hubbard Glacier, Ketchikan and the Misty Fjords and Glacier Bay. Holland America is one of the few cruise lines permitted to enter these pristine waters, which means the ship gets closer to the spectacular scenery.

The Mediterranean

Cruising is the best way to explore the Mediterranean’s many spellbinding destinations and ports. Travelers who book this 9-night Silversea adventure can soak up the ocean experience from the deck or spacious suites with butler service and in-suite bar. Plus, travelers experience the cuisine, culture and history of nine coastal and offshore ports, including Monte Carlo, Malaga, Barcelona, Gibraltar and Valencia.

The Middle East – Dubai

Dubai is a dazzling portrait of opulence and a destination for those who want to feel as if they are a celebrity or among the top rich traveling in style. It is home to skyscraping buildings and mammoth megamalls where visitors can go downhill skiing inside the world’s largest mall. In this glamorous city one can even purchase a solid gold brick from a vending machine and watch the policemen ride by in Lamborghinis.

… All bookable through Travel Leader advisors