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Top international vacation destinations for 2012

Americans are ready for more adventurous travel that takes them further from home than in recent years, according to a just-released Travel Trends Survey by Travel Leaders.

Eleven of the top 20 international destinations – up from nine last year – are in Europe, Asia andAustralia.

“We are very encouraged to see the rise in popularity of such a diverse group of international destinations,” said Roger E. Block, CTC, president of Travel Leaders Franchise Group, which includes travel agency locations from coast to coast. “We have come to expect London, Rome and – more recently – European river cruising to be near the top of our survey. However, it is nice to see Americans’ interests are diversifying and in large enough numbers to ‘bump up’ destinations such as Hong Kong and Beijing in Asia, and Amsterdam and Barcelona in Europe.”

Sydney, Australia, is also gaining steam and just missed the top 15. “Because of the growing number of certified Aussie specialists within our Travel Leaders network, we fully anticipate delivering on more dreams of a vacation ‘Down Under’ in the coming year,” said Block.

The top international destinations, based on actual Travel Leaders booking data, are:

  1. Caribbeancruising, also number one in 2011.
  2. Cancun, Mexico
  3. Playadel Carmen, Mexico
  4. European cruising
  5. Rome, Italy
  6. London, England, which celebrates Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee and hosts the 2012 Olympic Games this summer.
  7. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  8. Paris, France
  9. Montego Bay, Jamaica
  10. Negril, Jamaica, which rose from number 15 last year
  11. Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, Mexico
  12. Florence/Tuscany, Italy
  13. European River Cruising, which made a leap from number 21 last year
  14. Beijing, China
  15. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  16. (tie) Mexican cruising and Sydney, Australia, up from number 19 in 2011
  17. Barcelona, Spain
  18. Amsterdam, The Netherlands, up from number 26 last year
  19. Hong Kong, China, up from number 23 last year

Robbert van Bloemendaal, Blue Ribbon News special contributor and world traveler

Destinations that are not in the top 20 yet, but which Travel Leaders experts identify as up-and-coming, include Croatia,Vietnam, and Panama.

As airlines continue to trim their flight capacity, it’s important to make international travel plans as far in advance as possible. Already, Travel Leaders experts report that nearly 90 percent of their international clients book at least two months or more in advance.

To make your international travel plans, talk with your travel professional.

This travel column was written by BlueRibbonNews.com special contributor Robbert van Bloemendaal, an experienced world traveler, native of Australia, an Ambassador with the Rowlett Chamber of Commerce, and president of  Travel Leaders of Rowlett.

Read Robbert’s Top 10 US Vacation Spots for 2012

To submit your news and events or a guest column on your area of expertise, email editor@BlueRibbonNews.com.



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