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Travelers will be getting lots of deals in 2009 Печать E-mail
Новости - Зарубежные новости
Автор: Newsmaster   
02.01.2009 20:59
Wallet-watching travelers will be taking fewer trips, waiting longer to book them in hopes of a deal and downscaling vacations.

Las Vegas will remain a big draw, and Mexico will be hotter than a chili pepper.

That's the outlook for 2009, according to travel analysts and providers and a survey of 547 agents, managers and agency owners with Travel Leaders (formerly Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates), out today.

Vegas is the No. 1 U.S. destination Americans are booking (as it was last year), the survey says, followed by Orlando. Perhaps fueled by Obama fever, the Abraham Lincoln bicentennial and a Harry Potter exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (No. 10) is more of a tourists' kind of town. It moved into the top 10 "for the first time in years," says Travel Leaders spokesman Steve Loucks.

Internationally, Caribbean cruises rule yet again, but dollar-stretching Mexico has five destinations in the top 10: Cancun, No. 2; Riviera Maya, No. 3; Puerto Vallarta, No. 4; Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, No. 9; and Mexican cruises (tied for No. 10). Additionally, some Caribbean cruises call at Mexican ports.

"You've got so many" new resorts in Mexico, and there are some exceptional values, Loucks says. He also cites increased interest in China, Mediterranean cruising and European river cruises.

At Apple Vacations, famed for value getaways in the Caribbean and elsewhere, Mexico remains popular. Huatulco on the Pacific Coast is an up-and-coming destination, with lots of new hotel rooms, says Apple marketing vice president Sandy Babin.

Jamaica is "getting a lot of renewed attention, most likely because of all the new hotels cropping up," she says. Well-regarded all-inclusive brands with a presence in Mexico and the Dominican Republic (such as Riu and Iberostar) have new Jamaican properties and offer rates as low as $1,000 a person a week, including airfare and all you can eat and drink.

Meanwhile, well-heeled travelers are "taking a step back" and downgrading, says Roland Largay, chairman of Southbury, Conn.-based Largay Travel, who recently was named agent of the year by Travel Agent magazine.

"The people who were going to South America are going to the Caribbean now," he says. "Cancun has been selling well, and instead of Crystal Cruises, it's Holland America."

Rudi Steele of Rudi Steele Travel in Dallas, another high-end agency, maintains that the rich "are still going." His clients are looking to "take a break from the constant doom and gloom" and booking England more now that the dollar is better vs. the pound, as well as Morocco and South America (Patagonia, Buenos Aires and São Paulo are among in-demand destinations).

"Just try to get a seat on a (Dallas) non-stop to Buenos Aires, Santiago or São Paulo," he says. "They're packed."

Other findings in the Travel Leaders 2009 trends survey:

•90.5% say customers are cutting back on travel compared with the same period last year.

•57.4% say clients are cutting back on the length of their trips.

•31.5% say airfares on 2009 corporate bookings are equal to or lower than those in 2008.

•81.6% say clients are trading down when it comes to hotels.

•84.3% recommend Mexico as the best value outside the USA, followed by cruises (61.1%) and the Caribbean (43.9%). Agents were asked to pick up to three places.

•Despite the rise of the dollar against the euro and pound, 77% say bookings to Europe are even or down for 2009.

•71% say travelers are saving money by staying at all-inclusive resorts; 75.7% say vacationers are being more flexible with travel dates to get better prices.

"If you are flexible in your travel plans, there are going to be more soft spots (in hotel rates) everywhere," says Robert Mandelbaum, director of research information services at PKF Hospi- tality Research. He says consumers will have more luck this year negotiating better rates and extras at hurting hotels. "It pays to ask," he says.

When it comes to flights, Tom Parsons, chief of Bestfares.com, says airfares to Europe and elsewhere are coming down, and so are fuel surcharges.

He also advises keeping an open mind when deciding where to go and looking for good hotel/air packages, which can save a lot of money.

2009 "is going to be a travelers' market," he predicts.


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