Last updated: 12:47 PM ET, Sat July 23 2016

What Destinations are Hot in July?

Destination & Tourism | Lisa Iannucci | July 23, 2016

What Destinations are Hot in July?

PHOTO: Belize has experienced a surge in sales as of late. (photo by Brian Major)

Temperatures are high and summer travel is hitting its peak, but where exactly is everyone jetting off to?

“We at Discover Latin America/Blue World Journeys have had a challenging year due to media reports about the Zika virus,” said David Capaldi, president of Discover Latin America. “However, while travel to Latin America remains at a lower level than in the past, we have seen a surge in sales to Belize.”

Capaldi said the reason for the bump in travelers to Belize is due to a number of new nonstop routes that have opened up, from Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Dallas and Los Angeles, on all major airlines.

READ MORE: Why Colombia Should Be Your Next Vacation Destination

“Americans are traveling to this jewel of a country more than ever,” he said. “It’s beautiful and tropical, it’s safe and friendly and everyone there speaks English. While it’s a great beach destination, our clients seem far more interested in the jungle where they can stay in luxury jungle lodges and enjoy some soft adventure.”

He describes Belize as Costa Rica the way it was 30 years ago before it became inundated with tourists. “We’re also seeing more interest in Australia and New Zealand, again due to new non-stop flights and the strength of the U.S. dollar making travel there more affordable than ever,” he said.

With some travelers being afraid to travel, Australia and New Zealand are becoming a bit more popular. “They are perceived as ‘safe’ destinations by Americans, something paramount at a time when the media is filled with reports of terrorism,” he said.

However, according to Vivienne Kouba, the vice president of Leisure Travel Division at Peak Travel Group, a Signature Travel Network Member, “People still want their Europe fix and they want to work with a trusted source.”

Meredith Donaldson, a Luxury Travel Consultant at Casto Vacations has seen an uptick in last-minute travel to London in July. “This is due to the business class fare sales and the strong dollar to pound,” she said.

Linda Marshall, an affiliate of Travel Experts, Inc. said that her customers are still interested in getting to Cuba, as well as Iceland. “This is very surprising as they are both quite expensive and it is difficult to confirm good accommodations,” she said.

There has been a resurgence of activity to East Africa, particular, Kenya for Greg Geronemus, the co-CEO of smarTours. “Strong numbers for Kenya in July during the Great Migration historically would not be surprising, but after a couple years of travelers shying away, we were pleasantly surprised to see demand return to more robust levels,” he said.

For his clients who want to cool off from the heat, they are heading to Alaska in July. “We currently have clients there doing an Adventure by Disney vacation. The weather is perfect this time of year for an Alaskan adventure,” Greg Antonelle of MickeyTravels, LLC said.

Summertime also means weddings and it’s a popular time for engaged couples to jet off for their nuptials or to check out places for future destination weddings. “We continue to see many couples opting to get hitched in tropical locales,” said Megan Velez, vice president of product, Destination Weddings Travel Group. “Mexico and the Dominican Republic top the list of destinations, alongside Jamaica, Costa Rica, Aruba and St. Lucia. With that said, the era of adventurous “I do’s” is upon us, with unexpected places like Iceland, Canada and Italy scaling the list. Our LGBTQ couples are especially embracing destinations that openly welcome same-sex weddings, including Ireland, Spain and South Africa.”

Statistics from StudentUniverse, which books trips for students and youth, shared their top destinations for July as New York, Los Angeles, Beijing, Shanghai, Chicago and London.

“When we compared the 2016 top July destinations with 2015, San Francisco (previously #6) fell off the list, and Chicago (not even on the list in 2015) is now in the #5 spot for 2016,” said Danielle Dougan. “Shanghai and Beijing holding prominent spots on the list both years is no surprise — the majority of these are international students traveling back from their campuses in the U.S.”

READ MORE: Embracing the Strong Dollar: 3 Must-Visit Destinations For Americans

When they looked specifically at top destinations U.S. passport holders were traveling to, they were New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Dublin and Chicago. “When we compared them to destinations for 2016 with 2015, Paris and Dublin came into the top five in 2016 (previously not on the list in 2015),” said Dougan.

Each month we will check in with travel agents to see what’s trending and what isn’t.


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