Travelers head south for tropical respite.
As the mercury falls, business travelers' interest in the tropics rises. A recent study by American Express suggests that entrepreneurs favor Caribbean cruises as a way to escape the gray. "Business owners who've had a particularly good year are heading to St. Barts, Nevis, Antigua and other Caribbean islands," says Rich Miller, a vice president for American Express Small Business Travel in New York City.
Indeed, the Caribbean Tourism Organization counted 7.1 million visitors from the United States in 1996, the most current year for which figures are available, up from 6.5 million visitors in 1992. But other hot spots are benefiting from the low temperatures, as well. Travelers are cashing in frequent flyer miles for tickets to destinations like Arizona and southern Florida.
"Business owners are looking for convenience," says David Fine, marketing manager for the trendy Sheraton Bal Harbour Beach Resort and the Key West Hotels near Miami. "They want something close, something in their time zone; they want to stay connected."
Christopher Elliott is an Orlando, Fla., writer and independent producer who specializes in technology, travel and mobile computing. His work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and online. You can find out more about him on his website or sign up for his free weekly newsletter.