The Travel Winds are Changing
Oct 17, 2017 03:00PM
● By Dia
No two years are the same when it comes to travel. This year is shaping up to be windy and shifting. The Caribbean storms have put a pause on familiar ports of call. St. Maarten ships have moved to St. Kitts and Nevis. Luxury cruise ships that home-ported in St. Maarten will embark and dis-embark from Barbados. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Thomas traffic will move to St. Croix for some time. The Port of San Juan will reopen for some cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, but the island is still struggling to get power to all businesses. Barbuda (little sister to Antigua) and French Martinique are rebuilding and not available until the end of 2018. Havana, Cuba, took a big blow—but you would not know it. Other than the political shifting, cruises and people-to-people tours are happening weekly.
Here is the shift for the winter season and 2018:
Europe, Italy had a huge year in 2017 and will again in 2018. UK, Scotland and Ireland remain popular and well traveled by U.S. families. The weak Pound Sterling against the dollar is a main reason and 2018 will be another good year to take advantage of this. France and Belgium had an off year and are very motivated to re-energize in 2018. We are placing an emphasis in 2018 to have our clients participate in the local cultures and traditions outside of the touristy city life. Visiting wineries and having lunch with the estate owners, attending a cooking class inside a Tuscan villa or barging down the tributaries of the Rhone or Rhine rivers.
Venezuela is still a no-go. Turkey is settling down, but has not yet picked up as it should. Egypt, East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) and the Holy Lands are making a comeback.
Australia and New Zealand are also hot destinations. Our winter months (their summer months) have always been popular and take a long lead to get booked. However, more than ever, U.S. travelers are discovering their shoulder months.
Domestically, Hawaii and Alaska will be strong for those wanting to vacation in the U.S. Airline seats to Hawaii will have an increase of 18 percent in 2018. Nonstop flights to the outer islands other than Oahu are the biggest winner.
It is not too early to plan 2018 and we are already taking bookings for 2019 for land and sea. Travel smart. Travel safe. What’s next on your life’s list? Visit Shangri-laWorldTravel.com to get into a travel state of mind.