Holiday hotspots for 2008


What’s hot – and what’s not – in travel destinations? If the crystal ball at TripAdvisor is correct, far-flung exotic locales once again top the list for 2008. According to the survey, the top three emerging hotspots are Jerba, Tunisia, Makandi Bay, Egypt and Phangnga, Thailand.

Last year’s top picks were Pamukkale, Turkey, Parga, Greece and Ary, Scotland.

The annual TripAdvisor survey, which tracks the travel trends of nearly 4,000 travellers globally, reports on changing traveller preferences and internet searches. TripAdvisor, an online travel community, then uses this data to predict the top destinations for the upcoming year.

Top 10 World Destinations for 2008
1. Jerba, Tunisia
2. Makandi Bay, Egypt
3. Phangnga, Thailand
4. Kovalam, India
5. Sabaudia, Italy
6. Asilah, Morocco
7. Ko Phangan, Thailand
8. La Plagne, France
9. Yangshuo, China
10. Kotor, Montenegro

Top 10 U.S. Destinations for 2008
1. Sunny Isles Beach, Florida
2. Kitty Hawk (Outer Banks), North Carolina
3. Seward, Alaska
4. Kailua, Hawaii
5. Blue Ridge, Georgia
6. Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania
7. San Marcos, Texas
8. Paso Robles, California
9. Rockport, Texas
10. Copper Mountain, Colorado

Other travel buzz
The survey also reported on changing traveller preferences and attitudes. Here’s a sampling of the latest travel trivia.

Germaphobic globe-trotters
80 per cent of survey respondents said they are worried about germs, bacteria and viruses when travelling. The biggest offenders are airplanes, according to 28 per cent of travellers. Public transportation was next followed by restaurants, hotels, and airports.

Respondents outside the U.S. were particularly worried about the risk of germs at restaurants, while Americans are far more wary of airplanes.

Fifty-five percent of travellers said they wash and disinfect their hands more often while traveling. And 27 per cent of Americans either bring their own disinfectant and cleaning supplies, shower shoes, pillows, towels or linens, when going on a trip.

Going green
Twenty-six per cent of travellers said they will be more environmentally conscious in their travel decisions in the coming year.

Turn off the cell phone
78 per cent of travellers said that mobile phones should not be allowed on flights. When asked if they think they have a right to ask an airline passenger sitting next to them to turn off video content they deem inappropriate, 58 per cent said “no”.

Weak U.S. dollar affects travel plans
Fifty-four per cent of respondents from outside the U.S. said that favourable exchange rates will motivate them to travel to the U.S. more in the next 12 months. On the other hand, 41 per cent of Americans said the unfavorable exchange rates will either prevent them from going, or limit their travel to Europe in the coming year.

Wandering workaholics
Only 64 per cent of Americans used all of their vacation time in the past year. Asked why they won’t take all of their vacation time, 28 per cent said they can’t afford to be away from work. Forty-eight per cent check their work voicemail or email on a long weekend. This number jumps to 78 per cent when taking a trip of a week or more.

Thirty-two per cent of travellers plan to engage in educational activity on vacation this year, such as a cooking or art class. This number is up from 25 per cent last year.

Terrorism concerns
Sixty per cent of respondents said that the possibility of terrorism is still a consideration when planning where to go on vacation. Forty-five per cent said the possibility of natural disasters (such as a hurricane, tsunami or earthquake) is on their mind, and 36 per cent said the cost of fuel influences their travel choices.

Top airlines
American Airlines was the favourite airline among worldwide respondents, and British Airways and Southwest tied for second favourite airline. British Airways was selected as the top airline by travelers outside the U.S. Travellers selected their favourite airlines based on friendly and helpful staff, good on-time arrival and departure records, and comfortable seats.

U.S. Airways was voted the least favourite airline, according to respondents.

Top airports
The favourite airport in the world, according to travelers, is Schipol International Airport in Amsterdam. Las Vegas McCarran and Orlando International tied as second favourite. Eighty-one per cent of travelers said the primary factor that makes an airport great is, “It’s easy to navigate and get to your gate.”

London Heathrow and Chicago O’Hare tied as the least favourite airport in the world, according to travellers.

More travel tidbits
Travellers will average about three vacations in the coming year. Beaches continue to get hotter – 64 per cent plan to vacation to a sandy destination this year, compared to 59 per cent last year. Florida is the most popular U.S. state that worldwide travelers intend to visit in the next 12 months.

Source: TripAdvisor