Travel Advisors Talk Destination Trends for 2023

The past few years have been a roller coaster for the travel industry, so much so that the typical playbook for what consumers want has essentially been thrown out the window in favor of what consumers can actually do. .

But with the world returning to some kind of normalcy, and COVID-19 no longer the main topic of conversation, choices abound again for consumers, and travel advisors can once again have a nearly full world. for sale.

To get an idea of ​​trends for the next year, TMR asked frontline travel advisors which destinations come up most often in conversations with their customers and why. Here is what they said:

1. European favorites
Even with borders open and health and safety protocols largely relaxed for 2022, travel advisers speaking to TMR still see a return to old favorites in Europe as the most likely scenario for 2023.

Rachel Galvez, of Indiana-based travel agency Personal, said she “has already seen a swing this way for 2022″ and Paul Hutton, a Cruise Planners adviser in Spokane, Washington added that it made ” too much time that the travelers could not return and complete their explorations.

In particular, advisors cited the continued strength of the US dollar as a way for consumers to get value on increasingly expensive trips and prices comparable to some other favorites closer to home.

“Airline tickets are better and hotel prices are better than in the United States. People are willing to invest in vacations that will create memories,” said Barbara Linebarger of Delightful Memories Travel in Marietta, Georgia. .

Europe is “more accessible and people haven’t been able to get there in recent years. Plus, flights to Europe are the same price as those to Mexico and the Caribbean,” said Kerri Dickson of Sapphire Adventures LLC in Washington.

In particular, advisers agreed on some specific European favorites, including Italy, France, Ireland and the UK.

“So many people are looking to explore Ireland. Its beauty, culture and history are huge draws. Being mostly English-speaking makes it easy to get around,” said Megan Lamovec of Wisconsin’s Summit to Sea.

“All of Europe is on sale due to the strong dollar, but Italy will remain a key destination in 2023,” AAA’s Bryan Shilling told TMR.

The first response from advisors remains Greece, which seems to be the first choice for many consumers

“I have many customers who have booked in Greece. Trend due to climates, desired premises, excursions,” said Laura Palmer of Vai Travel in South Carolina.

“Increased air service to our market, favorable pricing and seems to be something people are talking about on social media,” said Jenny Cagle of Elm Grove Travel in Wisconsin.

Where to go in 2023 New Zealand

2. Bucket list destinations, including one in particular
The thought of some emerging from the pandemic was that with the lack of opportunity over the past two years, more consumers would be more motivated to tick destinations off the to-do list. Advisors speaking to TMR said that while iconic European destinations are still at the top of their clients’ list, bucket list destinations are also trending for next year, a welcome sign for advisors who specialize in places off the beaten path.

“It’s more about bucket list experiences, so more exciting destinations like those for the Northern Lights or nature and wilderness adventures,” said Alana Wallace of Scottsdale, Arizona’s Holiday Cruises and Tours.

Which destination is really going to be the winner in the bucket list category next year is anybody’s guess. Courtney Samuels of Craig Travel of Toronto, for example, specifically mentioned Holy Land Tours as the destination on her clients’ to-do list in 2023. And Diane Manson of Mountain City Travel in Kimberly, British Columbia, said that polar destinations would be a big winner next time. year, “travellers are living their dream,” she said.

The single “pick list” destination that was cited by the most advisors choosing the category was New Zealand, a country which, after being closed for most of the last three years, enjoys a more direct air service from North America.

“The country has been closed for so long that demand for cruises and land tours of this diverse country is higher now than before COVID,” said Bob Shaffer of Florida’s Cruise and Travel Experts.

“It’s finally open without any restrictions. Almost all citizens are vaccinated. New Zealand is making a big push to bring business back to the country,” said Anna Bright of Anna Bright Luxury Travel in Nashville, Tennessee.

“New Zealand was banned for a long time during the pandemic, so I think travelers want to take advantage of the reopening there and see this beautiful country. Also, travelers seem focused on major travel after the pandemic, and for North American travelers, it’s a long trip to the South Pacific, so many feel like it’s now or never,” said said Laura Derksen of Personal Travel Management in Burnaby, BC.

“A repressed desire and so many things to offer that deviate from the English-speaking norm. Adventurous but with minimal familiarity,” said Aaron Sidner of IKP Travel in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Where to go in 2023

3. The Caribbean
The Caribbean has been one of the big winners of the pandemic – aside from some domestic favorites, North American travelers had few options until European and international borders reopened in 2022. Many families, couples , multi-generational groups and more flocked to the Caribbean in 2021 and 22 and, according to travel advisors, it is now slowing down.

“It’s easy…people want to get out, so they find the best package and get out. AIs make this very easy to do,” Kelly Belliveau of Nova Scotia’s Our Destinations Travel told TMR.

In particular, there is one Caribbean destination that advisors have turned to and that is Costa Rica. Tena Reid of Ellison Travel & Tours in Exeter, Ont., said she had received “many inquiries about the country and available accommodations and tours. Everyone who comes back had a wonderful time and they tell their friends. People feel safe in Costa Rica. There are so many different experiences on offer. Something for everyone.”

According to the advisers, Costa Rica has also recognized the power of commerce, which many believe could enhance their ability to introduce it to customers looking for a new destination in the Caribbean. “They’ve grown their presence with travel advisors over the past year,” said Denise DelVecchio of Magic Destinations Travel, LLC in Texas.