Putting Fears Aside This Holiday Season, More Travelers Are Venturing Outside Their Comfort Zone
Travelers Heading to Destinations Like Helsinki and Panama this Season, According to Travelocity Data
FORT WORTH, Texas
Nov 20, 2003
Traditionalists still like traditions but this year some holiday travelers are putting recent worries behind them and foregoing the obvious, choosing tacos over turkey and Mai Tais over eggnog, yielding a more unusual version of the traditional holiday.
"This season we're seeing a return to travel. We're witnessing what the new norm may in fact be," says Amy Ziff, Travelocity's editor-at-large. "The pattern shows travelers are feeling more comfortable with venturing outside of their comfort zone, previously dominating post-September 11th travel trends."
According to Travelocity, the most popular travel site on the Web, data show that travelers are choosing to go to a wider array of travel destinations than the past two years. This year, some families are hosting Christmas in Mazatlan, while others are whisking away for a couples-only getaway to Helsinki.
In a year where the winter vacation is popular with domestic holidays lasting 7.3 days and international holidays lasting 8.7 days, fares to off-the-beaten-path cities have shown a marked increase in a year over year comparison. With fares rising, some travelers are even willing to pay more to get there. International destinations seeing the greatest fare increases are:
* Bogota, Colombia (33%) * Manila, Philippines (32%) * Quito, Ecuador (29%) * Acapulco, Mexico (28%) * Lima, Peru (27%)
Domestic destinations where fares have increased the most over the same time last year include:
* Chattanooga, Tenn. (32%) * Chicago, Ill. (31%) * Newport News, Va. (30%) * Burlington, VT (29%) * Louisville, KY (28%)
For bargain hunters still on the lookout, however, Travelocity's data show that there are a few deals to be found, as some cities have actually experienced a decrease in fares. Those destinations include everything from Hawaii to Switzerland to Panama. Some of the highlights of destinations where fares have dropped include:
* Hilo, Hawaii (-44%) * Zurich Switzerland (-22%) * Rome, Italy (-16%) * Panama City, Panama (-9%) * Barbados (-9%) * Grand Forks, N.D. (-5%)
The data also show that travelers wanting to enjoy an extended vacation (15 days average) are venturing to San Salvador, Copenhagen, Manila, Manchester, U.K.; and Stockholm most often, while New Orleans, Columbia, S.C.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Champaign, Ill.; and Green Bay, Wis. rank highest for travelers on a shorter getaway (6.5 days or fewer).
Families traveling this season are looking for a little fun in the sun for holiday celebrations according to the data collected by Travelocity. Instead of gathering around the dinner table for the winter holidays, some families are choosing to journey to popular yet out of the ordinary getaway spots such as Mexico, Hawaii and the Bahamas. Families are also cruising this winter. All parts of the Caribbean, the Bahamas and the Panama Canal rank as top itineraries for holiday high-seas cruising.
In comparison, Helsinki, Finland ranks as this year's number one couple hotspot followed by Venice, Italy; Las Vegas, St. Maarten and Vienna, Austria while top destinations for singletons (or solo travelers) are mostly domestic with Fayetteville, N.C.; Lynchburg, Va.; and Monterey, Calif. topping the list.
For those who want to preserve time-honored traditions, making the trek home still remains the most popular choice for holiday travel and topping the list as this year's favorite domestic spots are New York, Denver, Orlando, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Ranking highest among international destinations according to Travelocity's data are London, Cancun, Paris, Vancouver and San Jose Cabo.
"This year, what stands out is that people are feeling free to travel again. As the economy shows signs of improving it looks like real vacations are back in vogue. Whether visiting with friends and family stateside or venturing to non-traditional destinations by plane, car or cruise, all kinds of travelers are on the go," says Amy Ziff. "Just ask yourself this holiday season: aren't you due for a winter break?"
NOTE TO EDITOR:
For more detailed findings on Travelocity's holiday data, to schedule an interview with Amy Ziff for a complete analysis of holiday data or for additional holiday tips and trends, please contact Amanda Borichevsky at 972.488.4790.
Travelocity, a Sabre Holdings(TM) company, pioneered the online travel space and continues to be the most popular travel service on the Web, giving consumers access to hundreds of airlines, thousands of hotels and cruise, last-minute and vacations packages, and best-in-class car rental companies, all backed by 1,000 customer service representatives staffed to provide 24- hour assistance. With 41 million members, Travelocity is the sixth largest travel agency in the United States. It has been recognized worldwide for its leadership in the online travel space, and it operates or powers Web sites in five languages across four continents. Additional information about Travelocity can be found at www.travelocity.com. Sabre Holdings Corporation
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