Mexico and Caribbean Top the List of 2020 Holiday Travel Destinations

By Laurie Baratti

Business intelligence software company Adara recently compiled data to produce travel trend insights for this year’s Thanksgiving and end-of-year (EOY) holidays, like the Christmas and New Year period.

Its investigation showed that Mexico and destinations in the Caribbean are revealing themselves to be the big winners this festive season, leading in demand for both hotels and airlines, as many travelers opt to forego their traditional holiday gatherings in favor of warm-weather escapes.

Mexico emerged as the top international fly-to destination for both the November and December 2020 holidays, albeit with lesser consumer volumes than those seen last year (down 23 percent during Thanksgiving and 28 percent during the EOY holidays). However, hotel bookings in Mexico are actually up 11 percent over the Thanksgiving period, compared to 2019. The Central American destination also leads in terms of hotel bookings made in international destinations for 2020’s EOY holidays.

Where last year, Americans were primarily flying to destinations in Europe and Asia for the fall holidays, the top spots (besides Mexico) for hotel bookings this Thanksgiving period are Caribbean locales like Puerto Rico, Aruba, the Virgin Islands and Costa Rica. Hotel bookings for the EOY holidays follow the same trend, with Jamaica and the Bahamas also making the top-ten list.

Airline bookings over the Thanksgiving period this year have shifted in the same vein, with Transatlantic and Transpacific destinations dropping off the top-ten list in comparison with last year. U.S. travelers are instead flying to Central American and Caribbean destinations like Mexico (in the number one spot), the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Colombia, Aruba, Haiti, Jamaica and Costa Rica.

The top-ten list of airline bookings for EOY holidays is also topped by Mexico, followed by the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Cuba, Colombia, Jamaica, Haiti, Costa Rica and Brazil; whereas, during the same period last year, some of Americans’ primary destinations included the U.K., Japan, India, Spain and Germany.

Domestically, across both flight and hotel bookings, people are largely heading to Las Vegas (inexplicably, since pandemic-era recommendations include avoiding congested areas) and Denver. These both beat out New York, which is traditionally a big holiday destination, where airline and hotel bookings are thus far down by almost 85 percent over the Thanksgiving period and nearly 87 percent for the EOY holidays.

Other top-ten domestic destinations over both Thanksgiving and EOY holidays include Honolulu, Hawaii and Florida hotspots like Orlando, Miami and Tampa. Major metropolises like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Boston also made it into the top ten.

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