In-Demand Destinations for Winter, From Portugal to Australia
Below, our list of the five most popular getaway spots come autumn and through the winter. If these don’t pique your interest, maybe the destinations on the bottom half of the top 10 list will—they are Paris, Bali, Israel, Antarctica and South Africa.
PORTUGAL After flying under the radar for many years, Portugal has become a must-see country, Mr. Maza said. “Signature now sells several thousand trips to Portugal a year, but five years ago, it used to be several hundred,” he said. The travel search engine Kayak has seen searches to Lisbon for fall travel increase 46 percent compared with last fall, and Made for Spain and Portugal, a Madrid-based company which sells luxury trips to Portugal, has sold 30 percent more trips to the country for this fall and winter, compared with last year, said the company’s founder, Virginia Irurita. “Portugal has lots of cultural attractions, a sophisticated wine and food scene and is a great value for money,” she said. Another plus: the weather in winter tends to be mild, Ms. Irurita said, with “plenty of sunny days.”
NEW YORK CITY It’s a city that never goes out of favor. New York has consistently been the second most searched destination on Kayak, according to David Solomito, the company’s vice president of North America marketing, while Sojern ranks it as its third most searched destination by North American travelers. American Express Travel has seen a 35 percent increase for fall bookings to New York City, compared with last fall, and Ovation has seen sales for winter trips to the city increase 25 percent compared with last winter. Mr. Ezon said that his clients are interested in feeling like locals and are choosing to stay in properties located in residential neighborhoods such as the Mark, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “Our clients have been to New York many times before, but now, they want a non-touristy experience,” he said.
MEXICO Given the recent earthquakes in Mexico, along with the travel warning the U.S. Department of State issued about safety in parts of the country, it may be a surprise that it is among the 10 most desired destinations this winter. But that is the case, according to some travel companies. Mr. Ezon said that the earthquakes and recent hurricanes have had minimal or no impact on Mexico’s popular beach getaways. Ovation’s sales to the country jumped 54 percent, compared with last fall and winter. The company has sold the most trips to the Riviera Maya, on the country’s northeast coastline, but also saw significant sales for Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta trips. On Booking.com, which claims to be the world’s largest travel hotel booking site with a database of around a million properties, Cancun is among the top 10 cities with the most hotel bookings for this fall and winter. Cancun is also a top searched destination for North American travelers, according to data from Sojern, a San Francisco-based advertising and data company, which analyzes the searches and bookings of 350 million global travelers. “When it comes to their annual beach vacations this year, Mexico is where people want to go,” Mr. Ezon said.
LONDON The recent terrorist attacks in Britain don’t appear to have led to a dip in travelers considering or booking fall and winter vacations to the capital city: Kayak, Sojern, Ovation and American Express Travel all report that London is among their top destinations. American Express Travel, for one, has seen a 45 percent increase in trip sales to London for this fall and winter. “Regardless of how many times people visit, London’s scale means that there is always a new neighborhood ready to become the next ‘it’ location and hot new restaurants and galleries to intrigue returning travelers,” Ms. Bennett said. Right now, she said, Shoreditch in East London and Southwark in Central London are the up-and-coming areas in the city that travelers are keen to explore.
AUSTRALIA Yes, it’s a long haul, but Mr. Maza said that Australia is a dream destination for many travelers from the United States. “You have vibrant cities like Sydney, fantastic beaches and nature and world-class food and wine,” he said. “And since September through February are the country’s summer months, vacationers are in store for warm weather.” So far, Signature has generated $20 million in Australia trips for this fall and winter, an increase of 20 percent from last year. The country is also among the most requested among Ovation’s clients while Sydney is a top booked city on Booking.com. Mr. Maza said that Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia, is especially gaining popularity among Signature’s clients while Mr. Ezon said that Ovation’s clients are interested in staying in beach resorts at the Great Barrier Reef such as Lizard Island.
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