2023 Readers’ Choice Awards: Emerging Destinations
The 2023 Readers' Choice Awards recognize who you, our readers, have said are the best in the group travel market! Keep reading to see which emerging destinations have made the list this year and what makes them so special!
Photo Courtesy of DiscoverLancaster.com.
Home to the nation's original and largest Amish settlement, Lancaster, Pennsylvania has no shortage of opportunities to discover the rich history weaved throughout the community. During their visit, groups could explore a stretch of Route 772, also called Newport Road, which is off the beaten path of the normal Lancaster tourist stops and full of Amish-owned and -operated stops. They could even enjoy a buggy ride for themselves!
Along with a plethora of activities to enjoy, such as quilt shops and heritage attractions, groups could set out in Lancaster's Craft & Cork Trail to imbibe in the area's best breweries, exquisite wineries and craft distilleries.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Photo Courtesy of Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.
A cultural melting pot, Charlotte, North Carolina's distinctive neighborhoods each offer groups something different. This accessible, walkable, inclusive and diverse city is home to world-class museums, performing art venues and attractions, like the Mint Museum, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the US National Whitewater Center and more.
"Groups who've discovered our vibrant city are now telling their friends and colleagues about us—if you haven't been to Charlotte in the past three to four years, you haven't been to Charlotte!" said Ned Blair, Director of National Sales, Visit Charlotte.
Photo Courtesy of Travel Manitoba.
Home to lush forests and 100,000 lakes and waterways, Manitoba offers groups plenty of bucket list opportunities—from kayaking alongside beluga whales, coming face-to-face with polar bears and witnessing the magic of the dancing Northern Lights in Churchill to visiting the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and Qaumajuq (the world's first Inuit art center) in Winnipeg.
"Manitoba's warm hospitality and welcoming nature combined with iconic bucket-list experiences and cultural awareness are exactly what today's group travelers are looking for," said Melanie Swenarchuk, Senior Manager, Market Development, Travel Manitoba. "Whether you come to Winnipeg or Churchill, the experiences you have and memories you make will stay with you long after you've left."
Photo Courtesy of Alabama Department of Tourism, Jamie Martin.
An epicenter of history, arts and culture and award-winning cuisine, Montgomery, Alabama has groups coming back over and over again. As the state's capital city, Montgomery saw many important moments during the Civil Rights Movement, which groups can solemnly honor and learn from in a number of ways: The Legacy Museum, the Rosa Parks Museum, the Civil Rights Memorial, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church—just to name a few.
Also not to be missed: An Alabama Shakespeare Festival performance, a stroll along Riverfront Park and a Montgomery Biscuit Baseball game. Don't leave without trying some of the soulful barbecue and southern comfort food found at establishments like Dreamland BBQ and Cahawba House.
Photo Courtesy of Visit Savannah.
Savannah, Georgia's storied beauty, southern charm, haunted history, unique local shops, fresh coastal cuisine, and scrumptious southern meals at award-winning restaurants truly delight groups of all kinds. From the Plant Riverside District's boutique hotels and chic rooftop bars to a tour of the Mercer-Williams House featured in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, a delightful combination of old and new can be found around every corner.
"Group travelers are getting increasingly excited about Savannah because there's just the right blend of everything here," said Anjuli King, Director, Domestic Group Tour & Entertainment Sales, Visit Savannah.
Remember: Tybee Island, Savannah's beach town, is only a couple of minutes away!
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.
This article originally appeared in the Nov/Dec '23 issue of Groups Today.