Where Are US Travelers Going for Holidays and Timeshare Vacations?

Americans have always enjoyed vacationing in Europe. According to US government travel research, 5.2 million US travelers visited Europe between January and July of this year, accounting for 18 percent of all US outbound international travel.

But during the first 6 months of 2010, US travelers to Europe accounted for 25 percent of the outbound travel, indicating not a decline in the overall number of travelers but a drop in the number of US travelers headed expressly for a European vacation.

Other parts of the world dropped by percentage as well. Fewer Americans are visiting South America, with a 17 percent decline in US outbound tourism there during this same period. While South American visitors to the US continue to climb, the trend is not reciprocal, with South America being the destination with the greatest decline in number of US visitors.

So, where are we going when we travel, vacation, and enjoy timeshare holidays abroad?

Well, travel to the Middle East is on the rise. With some 665,000 US travelers visiting the Middle East during the first six months of 2011, this region saw an 11 percent gain. We are also vacationing abroad but staying in our own backyard by heading more and more frequently to the Caribbean. 3.2 million US travelers visited the islands of the Caribbean in the first six months of this year, accounting for a 3 percent gain in US travel to this area.

And it makes sense. Travel to the Caribbean is easy from much of the US with great air and cruise connections, competitive prices and deals on travel, and overall ease of access. The Caribbean is also considered a safe destination, friendly to US travelers and easy to enjoy with English spoken throughout the islands.

On top of this, much of the Caribbean has been involved in extensive campaigns to attract US vacationers, a plan that seems to be paying off well.