Top travel destinations as COVID restrictions wind down
Alaska, California, Hawaii among the most popular domestic tourist destinations, Misty Belles said
As coronavirus lockdowns lift and vaccines roll out, the travel industry is seeing a surge in domestic travel, according to Virtuoso managing director Misty Belles.
There is a "ton of pent-up demand" for domestic travel right now, Belles told FOX Business' "Mornings with Maria."
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Her comments come as many states begin to ease up on travel restrictions as the COVID-19 pandemic seemingly winds down. Now, many people are looking to go somewhere in the U.S. rather than abroad.
Here are the top places that people want to travel to, according to Belles.
Belles says the top place people want to go is Alaska because of its many popular tourist attractions.
"Travel to Alaska looks a little different this year with the no sale order in place for both the U.S. and Canada. Typically, people would be cruising to Alaska and now they're going by land," she said.
Belles said this boom in travel was caused by the plethora of outdoor activities and experiences the state has to offer.
"They're still having an incredible experience and seeing some of the same things they would if they were cruising an inside passage and seeing the glaciers and the coastline. They're enjoying Denali National Park, their hiking, but they're arriving there a little bit differently."
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"And what's really also very interesting is that you're seeing people really go big with Alaska. So travelers who would normally be going to more exotic destinations like Africa, Australia, Europe, who aren't able to do that this year, they're really going big and doing large buyouts, they're doing yacht charters. And then we're seeing another trend there, which is multigenerational travel and multifamily travel as well," Belles added.
From beaches to vineyards, the Golden State is one of America's "favorite road trip destinations," Belles said.
"They get more than 800 miles of coastline that you can enjoy. You also have Napa Valley, which is a huge draw for people and doing very well with their summer bookings. Even right now, they're pacing better than they were last summer – about 65% occupancy. So they're doing really well there. And those wineries are starting to open back up with additional capacity."
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Belles also pointed out that people are heading back to urban areas "hardest hit during the pandemic," including San Franciso and Los Angeles.
The Aloha State also made the list along with Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Idaho due to their "national parks and wide-open spaces," according to the travel expert.
"The America West is really a place that people are discovering and rediscovering," she said.