Travel agents are canceling their customers’ planned trips to Paris following November’s terror attack, according to a new survey from Travel Leaders Group.
Paris also dropped out of the top 10 international travel destinations for the first time since 2011 and a significant number of travel agents said clients had expressed concern about traveling to Paris in the future.
The Travel Leaders survey, which polled 1,316 U.S. travel agents from Nov. 17 to Dec. 8, also noted an increase in domestic trips to Orlando booked for 2016.
“Overall, the trends are very positive, yet a spotlight continues to shine on Paris,” said Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko in a statement. “However, with less than a percentage point separating Paris from Mexico’s Riviera Maya at number 10, it’s more telling that an overwhelming majority of our agents indicated they’d travel to Paris given the opportunity – an endorsement not only for the famed city, but also for not allowing fear to dictate our lives.”
Ten percent of agents said a small number of clients are delaying trips to Paris, while six percent said they have cancelled a few trips. Less than one percent cancelled a significant number of trips.
Overall, agents said fewer clients are spending more on travel in 2016 than 2015. Half of those polled said they are seeing the same amount of spending, while about five percent said they’re seeing less spending.
Top international trips are a Caribbean cruise, Cancun, European river cruises, London and Punta Cana. River cruises, in particular, have made a big leap year-over-year in popularity with travel agent clients.
“The European river cruise market has seen incredible growth and amazing popularity over the last several years,” said Travel Leaders Group director of public relations Kathy Gerhardt. “There are a number of reasons why it continues to move up in our rankings: strong advertising has helped educate and entice travelers, more travel agents now specialize in planning European river cruise vacations, the strength of the U.S. dollar, a significant number of affluent American travelers with the time and money for this type of vacation, and, last but not least, it is an exceptional product and experience for guests.”
Top domestic trips for agents in 2016 are Orlando, Maui, an Alaskan cruise, New York and Las Vegas, respectively. Alaskan cruises were 2015’s most popular domestic trip for clients.
“We are seeing that families have learned that they cannot sit back and wait to book their vacation, especially if they are flying,” said Gerhardt. “Because Orlando is such a family friendly destination, that early booking window is reflected in our survey data.”