Mexico has 4 spots in top 10 travel list despite swine flu

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Mexico took four of the top 10 spots on a list of international destinations booked by agents, managers and agency owners from the Travel Leaders company (formerly Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates).

The annual survey asked 452 Travel Leaders agents to name the top destinations for the fall, through Dec. 31, using actual booking data. The survey was conducted in late August.

Mexico ranked highly despite concerns about swine flu and drug-related crime that hurt travel there last spring. Cancun came in as No. 2 on the list, Riviera Maya as No. 3, cruises to Mexico were No. 7 and Playa del Carmen was No. 10.

London was not among the top 10 in last year's survey but it rebounded at No. 6 this year, most likely due to a stronger U.S. dollar.

Caribbean cruises were first on the list and Mediterranean cruises were fourth. Rome came in at No. 5, while Montego Bay, Jamaica, got the eighth slot, and Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, was ninth.

Domestically, the top 10 destinations were, in order, Las Vegas, Orlando, New York City, Honolulu, Maui, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami. Travel Leaders attributed New York's No. 3 slot to attractive hotel rates in the Big Apple.

Despite Mexico remaining popular as a destination this fall, most agents reported that the country's bad news had negatively impacted their bookings.

On the H1N1 flu, 50 percent said there was a very dire or significant impact, 37 percent said it had some impact, and only 13 percent said it had little or no impact.

On reports of violence, 24 percent of the agents who responded said it had a dire or significant impact; 47 percent said it had some impact; the rest said it had little or no impact.


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