Travel Agents See FITs Driving New Business in 2019

by Marilee Crocker

NASSAU – Custom FIT vacation will be the No. 1 driver of new leisure land business for travel agencies in 2019, followed by active vacations and adventure vacations, according to a new survey of Ensemble advisors in the U.S. and Canada. Travelers’ hunger for intimate, personal experiences will also drive ocean cruise sales next year, Ensemble’s advisors predicted. They cited  growing interest in all-inclusive cruises, followed by small ship and family cruises.

Interest in food, wine and spirits is expected to assume a bigger role in vacations, according to nearly half of survey respondents. Wine and spirits vacations, culinary-themed cruises and hands-on cooking vacations are especially popular, advisors said.

Overall, Ensemble agents anticipate strong sales in 2019, with 78 percent projecting growth over this year. More than seven in 10 agents anticipate growth in ocean cruise, river cruise and land bookings. Fifty-seven percent expect Europe sales to increase.

Results of the September survey of nearly 2,000 Ensemble travel advisors were released during the agency group’s annual conference at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar here this week.

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"Most people do want to experience new things. There is a small percentage, maybe 10%-15%, who always want to do the same thing: Either return to the same all-inclusive or take the same cruise line to the same Caribbean islands."

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