Ensemble Travel Group’s annual conference in San Diego began with the release of a survey reflecting strong optimism by member agents for 2017.
A questionnaire, conducted in September, reflects the beliefs of nearly 200 Ensemble members across the U.S. and Canada.
For overall bookings in 2017, 62% of respondents expect sales to increase when compared to 2016 activity, with Europe rebounding for 46% of participants in the year ahead, compared to an anticipated decrease expected by 49% of respondents for Europe bookings in 2016. Members chose Croatia, Iceland and Ireland as their top spots in a list of international destinations that clients are showing a new or renewed interest in.
In the cruise category, 65% of respondents expect bookings to increase in 2017 compared to 2016, with 42% indicating the premium segment to have the largest gain. New itineraries, new ships and cruise line loyalty programs are the top 3 reasons cited as the foundation for the belief in an increase.
In the land segment next year, 61% of respondents anticipate an increase compared to 2016, with FITs seen as the largest gain at 57%, followed by groups (26%) and escorted tours (17%). Looking ahead, domestic travel in both the U.S. and Canada, which gained momentum in 2016 due to world events, are predicted by members to remain a solid travel option in 2017 as 35% in the U.S. and 20% in Canada expect continued growth closer to home.
And finally, in the travel insurance category, 65% of respondents forecast an increase in 2017 compared to 2016. According to survey results, the top 2 reasons for purchasing travel insurance are general medical concerns/accident-illness (61%) and older age of traveller or companion (36%).