Queer travel mecca Key West, Florida was recently named the number two top Fall 2020 travel destination by Tripadvisor. The annual Seasonal Travel Index for Fall (defined as September 1 through November 30) found that nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of American tourists are planning domestic fall getaways, and this year they are more interested in beach destinations like Key West than urban city centers.
“Among all of the disruption and restrictions this year, 76 percent of U.S. travelers continue to say that travel is important to them, even if they can’t experience the world like they used to,” notes Christopher Hsi, consumer market research lead analyst for Tripadvisor in a written statement. “The pandemic has forced travelers to be creative and explore new destinations in ways they may not have considered previously. This fall, we’re seeing a rise in destinations where travelers can relax and rejuvenate, as opposed to the busy hustle and bustle of popular cities.”
Of the top ten destinations Key West is easily the most welcoming of LGBTQ+ travelers and most of the accommodations that cater to the LGBTQ community — including Equator Resort, The Gardens Hotel, Alexander’s Guesthouse, and Southernmost Inn — are open. All (including the clothing-optional Equator) are complying with City of Key West ordinances that require masks at all times even outdoors and while social distancing except while eating or drinking. Bars are closed, and most hotels are limiting occupancy, so reservations are recommended.
These kinds of safety-conscious efforts remain a top concern for tourists, TripAdvisor found, with 68 percent of global travelers noting that the safety and cleanliness of establishments were critical.
While most of the top ten destinations were beachside (including #1 Key Largo, Fla., #3 Atlantic City, N.J., #5 Myrtle Beach, S.C., and #9 San Diego, Calif.), other destinations drawing attention this season include more places known for their outdoor recreation or wellnesss travel, like #6 Sedona and #7 Scottsdale in Arizona. Outdoor adventures have gained popularity in 2020 and 61 percent of Tripadvisor survey respondents say they are more likely to consider outdoor or nature trips. An increasing number of travelers are viewing luxurious resorts and all-inclusive properties, but the survey found campgrounds and farmhouses are recovering the fastest year on year. Further reflecting the move toward outdoor travel and experiences, hiking is recovering faster than any other amenities offered by hotels across the world.
Other findings from the report include that fall travelers are looking for shorter getaways with 54 percent planning road trips, 55 percent booking 2-5 night stays, and 36 percent booking single-night stays.