The travel industry is certainly not recession proof. As more and more people lose their jobs, and as others worry about theirs, many people are being cautions and choosing to stay home and avoid traveling too much. However, the fact that people still value their holidays remains. In a survey by and people ranked travel as the second leisure activity they still try to afford.

As people still want to vacation, they will try to find cheaper ways to do so. The first step is booking a trip. Since it is less time consuming and cheaper to make bookings online, an increase in online bookings this year is expected. At the close of 2008, online leisure travel bookings made up 29% of the European travel industry. And they are expected to grow about 3% during 2009. Spain is one of the European nations that have been shifting to online channels when it comes to travel. The Italian online travel market is growing faster than the European average as well. The U.K. still remains the largest online travel market, followed by France.

Another important thing to note for 2009 is that there will not be as many late booking deals. This is because in 2008, many tour operators decided to take advantage of people waiting to make last minute bookings and increased their prices in an attempt to increase their revenues.

The economic climate will also affect people’s destination choices. For example, people have been looking at cheap holidays in Spain; therefore Greece is expected to lower its prices as well. Travelers are considering their options with more care this year. For instance, Eurozone is not a preferable destination and neither is the USA. On the other hand, Turkey and North Africa are more appealing. British tourists mostly prefer Australia as a non-Euro/Dollar destination because the British pound has been declining in value. On the other hand, some prefer staying in their home or neighboring countries for holidays. Bulgarians, for instance, have expressed a preference to home ski resorts. The Bulgarian Black Sea resorts though were visited by many tourists from Romania during the holidays.

Overall, travel experts are either positive or neutral about the year ahead – there will be fewer travelers in 2009 but only slightly. Based on U.S. and International bookings so far, experts say that Las Vegas, Chicago, Mexico, the Mediterranean, and China are the top destinations for 2009. Beijing and Shanghai remain most popular destinations in China. Also, The New York Times recently published a list of The 44 Places to go in 2009. You can also vote for the destination that appeals you the most.

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