The American West is the top emerging destination in the United States, according to a new study by Ovation Travel Group. The independent travel management company released its list of the top U.S. emerging destinations, based on bookings by its advisors, following its recent list of top emerging international destinations.
Bookings in the American West were particularly strong in Montana and Utah, Ovation said. Other emerging cities were Austin, Charleston and Nashville.
In a written statement Ovation chairman and CEO Paul Metselaar said that the interest in the American West, with its beautiful natural landscapes, coincides with a rise in interest among luxury travelers in authentic experiences. Additionally, a number of new, exclusive resorts have opened in Montana and Utah.
Gina Gabbard, senior vice president of leisure and independent advisors for Ovation, said that Auberge’s The Lodge at Blue Sky in Utah’s ski region is the hottest opening of the year in the state, while The Resort at Paws Up in Montana also continues to draw the interest of affluent travelers.
“There are many reasons why Montana is an ‘emerging’ destination. There is nothing else quite like it. The dramatic landscape of Montana is surreal and driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is otherworldly,” said Ashley E. Diamond, New York-based luxury travel consultant for Ovation. “My clients are interested in the great outdoors, national parks and glamping, and the new Montage Big Sky will provide a much-needed luxury ski property, too.”
“For those who seek a true luxury experience, Amangiri in Utah is a five-star ultra-luxury property in the most breathtaking setting in America. It provides the ultimate access to the national parks, Lake Powell and some of the most photographic canyon landscapes in the world,” explained Andrew Steinberg, luxury travel concierge for Ovation in New York.
As for Austin, Gabbard pointed to the city’s hip music and culinary scene as drawing interest. Likewise, Charleston has benefited from a recent boom in its food scene, as well as its perennial historical and cultural attractions, said Ovation advisor Sylvia Lebovitch.
“While long associated primarily with country music, Nashville has quietly transformed itself into a cultural mecca that is cosmopolitan and infinitely trendy,” said Gabbard. “Increasingly, Nashville is being viewed as a hidden gem of a getaway for our leisure clients, thanks to some of the South’s finest hotels and restaurants.”