The results are in. KAYAK, the world’s leading travel search engine has revealed the most popular travel destinations from 2017. It appears Canada’s 150th birthday may have kept Canadians closer to home with 3 out of the top 10 destinations being Canadian cities.
The warm weather in Florida drew Canadians with two cities from the sunshine state making the top 10. Interesting enough, only two international destinations made the list. Cancun fell off the list this year with Montreal taking its spot at #10.
The list below from KAYAK is based on all return coach flights from Canada for search dates of January 1, 2017 through December 1, 2017 for travel dates of January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017.
The most popular destinations from 2017 are:
Toronto jumped to the #1 destination this year after ranking third in 2016. Although there were Canada 150 celebrations across the country, it’s likely that some Canadians decided to finally make a trip to this international city. Toronto sports teams had a fantastic year with the Raptors, Leafs, and Toronto FC all making the playoffs. The Jays had an off year, but attendance levels were still up.
2. New York
New York is always a popular destination so it’s no surprise that it ranked so high this year. Most people head straight for Manhattan to enjoy the main attractions including the museums, Broadway, and shopping, but the other boroughs have started to garner plenty of attention. Some of the best restaurants and bars in the city are in Brooklyn while the New York Botanical Garden is one of the most underrated attractions in the city. The New York Wheel on Staten Island was supposed to open in ‘17, but now it’s tracking for the Spring of 2018.
Here’s another Canadian city that got a boost thanks to Canada 150. Everyone knows about Stanley Park and Granville Island. You’ve also likely made a trip to the waterfront, so it’s time to explore the neighbourhoods. Yaletown is known for fashion while Chinatown offers much more than Asian food including galleries and coffee shops. Railtown has quietly become the hippest area in the city with some stunning architecture. There’s also Kitsilano which is a bit of sleepy neighbourhood but that’s what makes it appealing.
Although London dropped two spots compared to last year, the city is the highest ranked international destination. What I love about London are all the free attractions. Just about every museum and art gallery is free to the public. My personal favourites include the Imperial War Museum and the British Museum. Another popular spot (which is full of tourist) is the Southbank where you’ll find the London Eye, Tate Modern, and City Hall.
5. Las Vegas
If you didn’t know, Las Vegas is no longer just a city for gamblers. In fact, the food and entertainment business now outpaces gambling as the top attractions. With the Las Vegas Golden Knights debuting this year, hockey fans are sure to make a trip down to watch the team which has been off to a hot start. Of course, there’s the pool scene in Vegas which is perfect for those who are looking to get some sun. One newish site worth checking out is the Container Park located downtown where old shipping containers have been used to create a food and shopping complex.
6. Los Angeles
Here’s another city that always makes the top 10 for good reason. Los Angeles may be famous for Hollywood, but these days tourists are more interested in the beaches and food scene. Manhattan Beach is still relatively quiet compared to Santa Monica, but you really can’t wrong wherever you end up. Westfield Century City in Culver City just went through a massive restoration while LAX has started to modernize which makes for a much better travel experience.
Canadians love Orlando (including me). Last year there were two new major attractions that opened. Pandora – The World of Avatar opened in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The new section is like going to a new planet and features a thrilling 3D ride above the moon. Volcano Bay also opened which is a water park with the newest technology. Guests won’t need to line up since their wristbands will assign them a set time for the slides. 2018 is also set to be a big year for Orlando since Toy Story Land is opening in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
8. Fort Lauderdale
Here’s a destination that makes the list every year but is still a surprise to many people. If you didn’t know, Fort Lauderdale is a major cruise port, and it’s a relatively quick drive to Miami for those looking for “cheaper” airfare. Most people don’t stick around Fort Lauderdale, but there are great beaches and a canal tour can be quite fun. If you are taking a cruise, note that hotels are much cheaper here compared to Miami.
The only other international destination to make the list is Paris. The capital of France hasn’t changed much over the years, but that’s not a bad thing. The first time you catch the Eiffel Tower sparkling at night is magical. If you’re feeling adventurous, make a trip to the Catacombs where the remains of more than six million people are held. Sacre Coeur is one of the most popular spots in the city since it offers great views, but head behind the Basilica and explore the area of Montmartre where art and coffee shops are aplenty. If you only have time for one museum, skip the Louvre and head to Musée d’Orsay which sees fewer crowds.
It was a BIG year for Montreal. Not only did they celebrate Canada’s 150th, but it was also the city’s 375th birthday. The city threw various parties events throughout the year so there really wasn’t a bad time to visit. If you’re planning to visit in the year, you’ll want to time your trip so you’re there during one of the festivals. Fête des Neiges and Montreal en Lumiere are the best winter festivals while the jazz festival in the summer shouldn’t be missed. In case you’re wondering, the poutine, smoked meat, and bagels do live up to the hype.