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Travel Destinations 2016

Paris? Nope. Brussels? I think not. Egypt? Maybe another year. Outbreaks of violence around the world might have travelers rethinking their plans this coming travel season. 

But will it keep U.S. travelers from venturing abroad? The signs are pointing towards a resilient traveling public, according to several travel experts.

TripAdvisor, a travel review site, surveyed 2,250 U.S. travelers in the wake of the Paris attacks and found that 90 percent were not planning to change their 2016 travel plans as a result. 

“I see a weakness in several markets where world events have impacted them,” says Paul Lasley, president of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). “But it’s also clear that travel demand remains high and experience indicates that these markets will rebound.” 

So where do the experts think U.S. travelers will head this year?

Brazil has been much talked about because it’s hosting this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. But the Zika virus and the expense of getting there may discourage some potential visitors. Word has it, tickets are still available for most events. This might be the time to use a tour operator to insure rooms and tickets. 

Cuba is also high on many wish lists.

Una Ng-Brasch and her husband, Ron, live in Colorado Springs and have been to Cuba three times, including last year, primarily in search of art.

The art is unique, but “the architecture is fascinating, too. It’s a combination of Spanish Colonial buildings that are beautiful but deteriorating, and collapsing in some cases. 

“We love the Cuban people, who are warm, highly imaginative and inventive. Havana is exuberant and fascinating,” she says.

Tour operators are gearing up for Cuba, but if you travel on your own, be warned: Though hotels are now being built like mad, if you reserve a room online, you may find that you don’t have one when you arrive. The system is still full of glitches. 

And traveling there strictly as a tourist is still banned, but those who fall under 12 U.S.-approved categories may go via a complicated charter flight process, according to the Tour Operators Association. 

Another hot destination this year will be Iceland. After hosting the international meeting of SATW, the island nation has received a glut of press. 

Icelandair has expanded its flight schedule and American hotel chains are venturing there. Add volcanoes, hot springs and northern lights, and what’s not to like?

Other top destinations, according to several surveys, include Ecuador (which uses American currency and boasts the Galapagos Islands), Tokyo, Japan (in advance of the 2020 Olympics), and the good old U.S.A. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the national park system, many parks are offering special events. 

Anthony Roman, president and founder of a global investigation and risk management firm, Roman and Associates, says travelers shouldn’t be discouraged from seeing the world. But they should be cautious. 

We can’t ignore the new reality, but we shouldn’t stop living either,” he says.