Last updated: 07:00 PM ET, Sun August 28 2016

What Are The Hottest End-of-Summer Travel Destinations?

Features & Advice | Lisa Iannucci | August 28, 2016

What Are The Hottest End-of-Summer Travel Destinations?

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

In some parts of the country, the kids went back to the classroom this past week, while in other parts of the country, travelers are getting in some last-minute summertime fun before the school bus makes its stops after Labor Day. With summer vacation still on the mind of many, travelers are already beginning to daydream and book next year’s vacation.

Eileen Entin, of Diamond Cruise & Travel in Trenton, New Jersey, has seen an uptick in bookings for European river cruises from people traveling this summer and from people booking ahead for 2017. “The interest is being driven largely by Viking's advertising campaign, but these river cruises present a different experience with additional challenges,” said Entin.

READ MORE: Know Before You Go: Tips for a European River Cruise

According to Virtuoso’s Top 10 and Hot 10 list, Europe still remains a favorite among luxury travelers, who are also visiting more exotic locales, such as Africa. The data shows that the top five most popular fall and holiday travel destinations based on future bookings include Italy, France, United Kington, South Africa and Spain. Africa continues to surge in popularity, a continuation of the trend Virtuoso noted for summer travel. With sales up 28 percent year over year, Virtuoso shows that Africa is the only continent to post such an increase. Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, all strong safari destinations, will benefit from a projected 17 percent increase

Greg Geronemus, co-CEO of smarTours, says that the momentum behind the UAE, specifically Abu Dhabi and Dubai is truly remarkable. “Not only are travelers drawn to Dubai, which has created buzz for several years now, but travelers are really starting to recognize Abu Dhabi,” he said. “With the openings of the Guggenheim and Louvre Museums in Abu Dhabi both just around the corner, Abu Dhabi has arrived and is here to stay.”

John Ische, president and CEO of Trisept Solutions, says that he’s actually seen travel demand drop some time over the last year. “We are seeing a lot more shopping, but bookings are slightly down,” he said. “This is not that unusual in an election year, especially right after the political conventions.”

However, when bookings are being made by agents on VAX, he says that the top destinations are Mexico and the Caribbean, led by Cancun, Punta Cana and Jamaica. “Orlando is the top US destination as hoteliers are offering bigger discounts due to Brexit and the strength of the U.S. dollar,” he said. “We are also seeing good sales for New Orleans and San Diego. Hawaii is showing a strong demand for Q4 travel, and our top European destinations are Rome and Paris.”

READ MORE: Is Paris Making a Tourism Comeback in 2016?

Trending for Pam Walker, affiliate of Travel Experts, is India. “One family returns and then tells their friends and before I know it, an entire neighborhood is going one family by one family,” she said. “In the last 6 months, I have had 5 families travel to Rajasthan in Northern India. They come back raving about the trip each time.”

Each month we will stay on top of the hottest trending destinations.


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