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London Takes Crown as Fall's Top Hot Spot


Red, Double Decker Bus in London, England

American travelers are taking advantage of the “Brexit benefit” by packing their bags for London, England this fall.

The June decision by British voters to leave the European Union has sent the pound to a 30-year low against the dollar, making a vacation in the United Kingdom cheaper than it’s been in years. For the first time, London ranks number one on the list of international destinations in Travel Leaders Group’s Fall Travel Trends Survey.

Travel Leaders polled its 1,145 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline agents about the trips they’ve booked for their clients for the remainder of 2016. Forty-five percent of agents who counsel clients on leisure travel reported that the increased value of the dollar has amplified interest in the United Kingdom.

The British capital was followed by Caribbean cruises, the Mexican resort of Cancun, Rome, and Paris. Rounding out the list’s top 10 are European river cruises, Punta Cana (Dominican Republic), Mediterranean cruises, Montego Bay (Jamaica), and Florence and/or Tuscany (Italy).

London’s cultural calendar is overflowing with new events in the fall, such as the National Portrait Gallery’s blockbuster Picasso exhibit that begins October 6. Fall is also a great time to discover the city’s world-class cuisine. The London Restaurant Festival runs through October. By mid-November, Christmas markets are spreading holiday cheer. And what would London be without pageantry? On November 12, the Lord Mayor’s Show takes place, with a parade and fireworks display.

In the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands is host to one of the region’s most colorful and unusual autumn traditions—Pirates Week, November 10–20—complete with parades; street festivals featuring music, food, and dancing; a cardboard boat race; and costume contests. Also in November, Holland America Line’s newest ship, the ms Koningsdam, will embark on Caribbean voyages from its homeport of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Fall in Cancun is a perfect time to get a taste of Mexico’s history and culture, along with some sun and sand. One of the country’s most fascinating festivals, the Day of the Dead, takes place October 31 to November 2. It’s a time when people gather at cemeteries to remember departed loved ones. In Cancun, as in much of Mexico, it’s a festive occasion.

Rome is a place of ancient history but it shows off its modern side in the fall. The 31st RomaEuropa Festival, which runs through December 3, includes more than 500 artists in performances of music, theater, dance, contemporary circus, and visual arts. And the Rome Jazz Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary this year from November 6–23.

Paris is a city for lovers all year round, but in the fall it’s a special place for chocolate lovers. The annual Salon du Chocolat takes place from October 28 to November 1, with chocolatiers, pastry makers, and chefs demonstrating their finest recipes. By mid-November, Paris is getting ready for Christmas, with holiday markets, colorful lighting, and open-air ice rinks—giving the city a festive atmosphere.

For help planning a trip anywhere in the world, contact Travel Leaders COS at 719-597-0004.