Where Will Americans Travel in 2016?

December 16, 2015
Candyce H. Stapen

‘Tis the season when travel sites and booking companies predict the next must-visit destinations. In a recently released analysis of where Americans will travel in 2016, lodging site Hotels.com forecasts a few destinations that may have you doing double takes.

‘Tis the season when travel sites and booking companies predict the next must-visit destinations. In a recently released analysis of where Americans will travel in 2016, lodging site Hotels.com forecasts a few destinations that may have you doing double takes.

Milwaukee, Buffalo, and Queens, for example, land on the site’s up-and-coming list. “For 2016 we’re foreseeing an interesting mix of trending and often overlooked destinations with something for every type of traveler no matter your budget, climate preference, preferred language or lifestyle,” says Josh Belkin, vice president and general manager, North America for Hotels.com.

To come up with their forecast, Hotels.com analyzed the percentage changes in demand for accommodations on their website over the past two years (from January 1 to October 31, 2014 compared to the same period for 2015 and 2013).

Hotels.com 2016 Travel Predictions

. Interest in Queens has risen 150% over the two year period studied. New millennial-oriented hotel openings include The One Boutique Hotel, Flushing, and Z NYC Hotel, Long Island City.

. Interest in Dallas is up 40% since last year. Hotels.com credits this, in part, to dining, art and shopping options as well as the city’s push to attract diverse visitors including LGBT travelers.

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3. Anaheim will see a large surge in tourism beyond theme parks. Hotels.com pegs Anaheim as the California city that’s rising fastest in popularity, up over 40% since 2014.

4. Milwaukee will become a Top 50 Domestic Destination. Interest in Milwaukee, the second most popular Midwestern city, has increased 70% since 2013. Hotels.com cites Milwaukee’s strong food and beer scene and strong entertainment and shopping.

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5. Oregon’s smaller cities will benefit more from marijuana tourism than Portland. Travel to Ashland, the closest Oregon city to California that has recreational marijuana shops, was up 65% and travel to Eugene, closest to Idaho, was up 70% while travel to Portland was up just 25%.

Rust belt cities are on the rise. Interest in Cleveland and Detroit rose 70% and travel demand to Pittsburgh rose 60% while interest in Buffalo was up 90%. Hotels.com attributes this in part to Buffalo becoming a foodie destination and the city’s waterfront development.

7. Mexico will attract more travelers beyond its top destinations. The continued popularity of Cancun, Riviera Maya, and Mexico City (pictured) will push tourists to consider other destinations in Mexico. Since 2013 Ciudad Juarez has had a four-fold increase in travel and Tijuana, a three-fold increase. The cities benefit from increased security.

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8. Phuket will become a Top 40 International Destination. Of Thailand’s expected 30 million visitors, many tour Bangkok. However, Phuket, the country’s largest island, experienced a 70% increase in travelers compared with 2014.

Image by Nicolas Vollmer/Creative Commons License

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9. Under-the-radar Canadian destinations will continue to shine in 2016. Although Toronto and Niagara Falls in the province of Ontario have witnessed a growth in visitors, travel demand has doubled for lesser known destinations Mississauga, Windsor, and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Image by Ken Lund/Creative Commons License

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10. The Norwegian capitol of Oslo will become a top Scandinavian destination for American travelers. Travel demand to Oslo has increased 180 % since 2013.

What are your travel plans for 2016? Do they include any destinations on this list? Comment below or connect with me on Twitter, @familyitrips.