With COVID-19 restrictions still playing a major part in consumer decisions, 2021 was very much a year of change, transformation, and flexibility for the travel industry. Domestic and close to home destinations, the big winners from 2020, continued to thrive in an uncertain environment, while the legacy destinations, those that have always attracted North American consumers, benefited from a return to travel.
So, now that the calendar has officially flipped into 2022, what is trending for this year? More of the same?
According to travel advisors, a lot of the same remains top-of-mind for consumers, but there are other destinations, some far-flung and others close-to-home, that are capturing the imagination of clients, and some new ones that are on top of the list when it comes to recommendations.
Here is what travel advisors have to say:
Antigua and Barbuda
"My destination recommendation for 2022 is the island nation of Antigua & Barbuda. This is my ancestral homeland (both of my paternal grandparents were born in Barbuda) and I finally rediscovered this Caribbean paradise over the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday. I loved it so much that one of my New Year's resolutions is to visit annually. Antigua boasts (literally) a beach for every day of the year and several incredible resorts, such as beautiful Curtain Bluff and the iconic Jumby Bay Island. Barbuda remains unknown in the world, offering a unique retreat to private pink sand beaches. Barbuda Belle is the perfect accommodation for true barefoot luxury and rejuvenation."
- Kareem George, Culture Traveler
Big Sky, Montana & Turks & Caicos
“For 2022 travel as a domestic destination I would like to recommend Big Sky, Montana. There are so many activities to engage in for families and adults. Montage has opened the first 5-star resort there that is ski in/ski out. It is a dream for the avid skier or snowboarder. It offers an amazing experience for golfers and those with fly-fishing interest. You can have the convenience of staying at a luxurious property and take a day trip to Yellowstone National Park, which is only a 45-minute drive away.
For an international destination for 2022, I suggest Turks & Caicos. As it is such a short flight to open up a world of relaxation, gorgeous beaches, and amazing sea life. There is an array of resort options on the island to cater to personalized experiences.”
- Jamie Mussolini, Beachfronts Travel
London and Scotland
“London is calling! For the first quarter, our agency advisors have a special Four Seasons offer including guaranteed early check-in at booking and upgrade as well as third or fourth night free and 15% off City Escapes. For those coming off a red-eye flight from the US, it’s a perfect way to ease into your trip, and the timing is great, since January 7th the rules for vaccinated travelers eased again.
Another UK favorite we’re recommending is Scotland. Consider the ‘Glorious Playground’ at Gleneagles, which is the quintessential Highlands experience with bagpipes and haggis, falconry, off-roading, three championship golf courses, sporting clays, ESPA Life spa, and the only restaurant in Scotland with two Michelin stars, so it has something for everyone.”
- Joshua Bush, Avenue Two Travel
“For those clients who are less inclined to travel outside the country, I recommend iconic U.S. destinations like Nashville. Whether for multigenerational families or couples looking to let off some steam, or groups of friends celebrating a milestone birthday, bachelor, or bachelorette party, Nashville definitely delivers. From the live entertainment, energetic atmosphere and great restaurants to the convenience of walking from many downtown full-service properties to the middle of the action on Broadway, Nashville will definitely be one of the hot spots I will be selling in 2022. I already have a group of college friends who are ready to book for next month!”
- Kerry Tice, an IC with Enticing Vacations
The 3 M’s – Mexico, Maldives, and Morocco
“The obvious answer is Mexico. It is affordable, easy to get to from most US cities and currently does not require a COVID test or vaccinations. I loved Mexico for many reasons even before COVID and find it almost sad that some people are only now considering it because of their relaxed travel protocols versus all that it has to offer.
I am also recommending the Maldives and Morocco to my clients. The Maldives because they are doing things right with their protocols and while the flight is long and the price tag is high, the over the water bungalow experience is something most clients are excited about and we are finding there aren’t as many hoops to jump through in getting there.
Lastly, Morocco, simply because I had the pleasure of visiting recently and this destination does not disappoint! A short 6 hour flight from JFK puts you on the northern coast of Africa with a nice mix of African and European cultures and to date, I have not had a client say “been there, done that” to Morocco when I have suggested it. The mystique combined with great value has impressed every client that I have suggested it to.”
- Julie Langham, Vacations to Remember