Interest in visiting Havana has skyrocketed 230% with Canadians, possibly due to last year’s opening of Cuba to American tourists, said KAYAK in its just released Top Ten Trending Destinations of the Year.
“Canadians have always had a love for the historic tourist destination known for its cigars and famous vintage cars,” KAYAK said in a press release. “Get there fast before Americans are allowed to start vacationing there, which will likely drive up costs and crowds.”
Norman Payne, an Ottawa-based agent who books both American and Canadian clients to Cuba, said that so far, “there has been no deluge [of Americans] as some predicted, and no swamping of Cuba as some feared. In my opinion Cuba, there is hardly any difference from any other Caribbean island where Americans outnumber, or are equal to or slightly less than, all the other visitors from Canada and Europe combined.”
Payne pointed out that when you have thousands of Americans traveling and that number increases by 80%, you are still looking at only hundreds of thousands of visitors to Cuba—compared to the million- plus Canadians who traveled there last year. “Anyone who wishes to go should be encouraged to do so regardless of their nationality. Cubans, as most others, see Americans as friendly, open, optimistic, curious, ready to help and quite accommodating!”
Reykjavik took second in KAYAK'S Top Trending Destinations list for Canadians with a 116% increase in searches compared to 2015, and Rio de Janeiro’s revival continues from last year’s summer Olympics, with a 77% bounce this year over 2016.
"Havana has seen an amazing amount of renewed interest,” said David Solomito, KAYAK vice president of North America marketing, “as has Reykjavik, but there are some exciting additions to the list—like Casablanca, Auckland and Manila—proving long distance isn't necessarily a variable when booking a trip."
Another popular destination is Nashville, TN, which saw a 43% increase in searches among Canadian travelers. Canadians also are interested in visiting less-frequented destinations this year, like Casablanca, Manila, Auckland and New Delhi, which all experienced 30%+ increases in searches.
Meanwhile, Canadian interest in a number of other destinations has dropped substantially, KAYAK said. Osaka, the top trending destination last year, saw a 41% decrease in searches this year, while crises in Istanbul contributed to a 31% decline in interest in the Turkish city. “Florida may also see fewer Canadians,” KAYAK said.
KAYAK compared searches between Sept. 1, 2015, and Dec. 1, 2016, on ca.kayak.com, for travel between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2016, with the corresponding periods for 2016 and 2017.