The 6 C’s of 2011 Travel Trends

After years of the travel industry being hit hard by disaster, economic woes, and crunched budgets, some pundits predict that 2011 will be the year it enjoys a comeback of sorts. These are some of the top trends we’ll experience for both leisure and business travel in the upcoming months.

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At a recent cruise line conference in Miami, industry executives reported strong sales and continued optimism.

One of the newest trends is cruising on more intimate ships. Norwegian Cruise Lines recently unveiled its new ship, Epic, which, rather than being bigger, contains only 128 cabins, each made for only one person. Perhaps 2011 will be the year of the solo traveler?

We’ll still see the opposite end of the spectrum, though, with Celebrity, Carnival and Disney Cruise Lines each unveiling mega-ships this year while Cunard and Holland America return to their roots as the companies known for luxury liners and classic itineraries

Corporate Travel

The National Business Travel Association is predicting that business travel will increase nearly 4 and a half percent in 2011. This is likely due to the tendency of many corporations beefing up their sales forces in order to stay competitive and get ahead of the curve as the economy slowly recovers. And since business travelers generally pay more for airfare and lodging, it’s a good sign for the travel industry as a whole.


In response to the waves of frigid weather continually hitting various parts of the country, many leisure travelers are making plans to head for warmer climes, such as the Caribbean. Although many people fear traveling to Mexico due to unrest along the border, it isn’t stopping them from flying to the coastal areas of the country to enjoy a sun-filled vacation.


According to an Orbitz study, 36 percent of Americans are planning to spend more of their hard-earned dollars on vacations this year. And many of them are crossing the pond to some rather exotic destinations, with Syria, Turkey, Greece, Sicily, Sri Lanka, Zambia, and West Africa topping the list of “hot” destinations in 2011. Triple A predicts Brazil, Egypt, and Dubai will be the newest hot spots. Travelers on a budget will opt for Iceland and Bermuda.


Lots of big events in 2011 are expected to spur travel – everything from the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in London to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and events that will commemorate 9/11 a decade after its occurrence.

2011 is also the year we will celebrate Ronald Reagan’s birth 100 years ago, the 200th anniversary of the Republican party’s inception, and President Barack Obama’s 50th birthday in August.


Of course, an uptick in sales for hotels, airfare, and cruises means that consumers will pay more – anywhere from 2 to 10 percent. The highest expenses will be found, as usual, in the airline industry whose major players are continuing to reduce routes and the number of planes in their fleets while increasing fees for just about everything. Expect baggage fees to stick around for a long time since they’re great profit centers for the airlines.

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