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ASTA, survey reveals Colorado, Utah cities as up-and-coming destinations for 2003 winter travel

A survey by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and reveals…

A survey by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and reveals the up-and-coming destinations for the season. According to the 450 ASTA and travel agents polled, cities in Colorado, Utah and British Columbia, Canada, are increasing in popularity for winter travel. The Holiday Travel and Family Reunion Survey also unveils favorite destinations for three groups of travelers: families traveling with children, couples under 40 and couples over 60.

The holiday season is traditionally a very popular time to travel, and the results of this survey show that Americans are taking advantage of this winter season to visit new places, explore a winter sport, do some holiday shopping or head south to warmer climates, said ASTA President and CEO Richard M. Copland, CTC.

Up-and-Coming Hot Spots


Agents pick Vail, Colo., as the up-and-coming hot spot for skiing. Whistler, B.C., follows closely with 14 percent of total votes. With five listings in the top ten, Colorado is the top state for up-and-coming U.S. ski destinations.

  1. Vail 14.4 percent of total votes

  2. Whistler, B.C. 14.0

  3. Park City 11.1

  4. Salt Lake City 7.8

  5. Jackson Hole 5.8


Vail also receives top votes as the up-and-coming spot for snowboarding, with 13.3 percent of votes. The number two and three slots are taken by Utah with 9.3 percent for Salt Lake City and 8.6 percent of the votes for Park City. The top five is closed out by Whistler and Lake Tahoe. Colorado is again the top state with five listings in the top ten.

  1. Vail 13.3 percent of total votes

  2. Salt Lake City 9.3

  3. Park City 8.6

  4. Whistler, B.C. 7.3

  5. Lake Tahoe 6.0

With so many options available for winter activities, like skiing and snowboarding, it`s no wonder that locations like Vail, Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah, are so popular among travelers during this time of year, Copland said.

Holiday Shopping

New York is the place to go for holiday shopping, according to 48.8 percent of agents. Chicago is a distant second in the list of up-and-coming spots for holiday shopping with 8 percent of the vote. Many consumers shop locally, according to 4.8 percent of agents.

  1. New York City 48.8 percent of total votes

  2. Chicago 8.0

  3. Locally 4.8

  4. Las Vegas 4.4

  5. Mall of America/ 4.4

  6. Minneapolis

Favorite Winter Destinations by Travel Group

Families Traveling with Children

Agents advise families traveling with children to head to Florida this winter. Orlando received 34.5 percent of all votes.

Second is Disney with 23.3 percent of the vote. Disney responses can be broken out into Disney (5.6% of total votes), Disney

World (12.1%) and Disneyland (5.9%). Agents also recommend Hawaii as a good family destination.

  1. Orlando 34.5 percent of total votes

  2. Disney:

  3. Disney general 5.6,

    Disney World 12.1,

    Disney Land 5.9

Couples Under 40

Couples under 40 looking for a winter vacation destination should head to Cancun, say one-quarter of agents. The Caribbean and Mexico in general are also great winter destinations, with 12.5 and 9.4 percent, respectively.

  1. Cancun 24.2 percent of total votes

  2. Caribbean 12.5

  3. Mexico 9.4

  4. Hawaii 6.1

  5. Las Vegas 5.3

  6. Cruising 5.3

Couples Over 60

Agents agree that for couples over the age of 60, cruising is the way to go. Cruising climbs up from fifth to first place with more than one-third of all responses. In second place, Hawaii makes up 10.9 percent of the vote and Florida comes in third with 6.6 percent. The top five is rounded out by Las Vegas and the Caribbean.

  1. Cruising 34.7 percent of total votes

  2. Hawaii 10.9

  3. Florida 6.6

  4. Las Vegas 5.2

  5. Caribbean 5.2

Family Reunions

Family Reunions During the Holidays

About one-quarter of ASTA and agencies have planned one or more family reunions to be held during the 2003 holiday season. Popular destinations for holiday family reunions are Caribbean cruises, Florida, Disney and Disney cruises,

Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, cruises, Orlando, Punta Cana and San Diego. Some reunions are taking place in quite different locations such as Belize, Greece, Kenya and Rome.

The holiday season is a great time to get together and catch up with family members at reunions. For many people, sharing it with close relatives enhances the sentiment of the holidays. As more families choose to hold their trips away from home and in unconventional locales, consumers are turning to travel agents to help with the planning, said Stephen McGillivray, CTC, vice president of marketing.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.