The Fastest Growing U.S. Destinations — by Origin Airport [Interactive Data Study]

Popular Travel Destinations

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Everyone is always looking for the next hot spot for their vacation. Whether it’s a tropical beach to seek refuge from a frigid winter or looking for an opportunity to see some mountain scenery, there are nearly endless options for destinations across the United States. Plus, where you’re coming from will often inform the type of getaway you’re seeking.

With this in mind, here’s a closer look at flight data to see which destinations are growing in popularity — based on the origin airport. Have Angelenos become more interested in Miami beaches? Have Houstonites begun to spend more of their vacations in cooler areas?

We looked at the year-over-year change in passengers from airport to airport to see which destinations have become more popular for each origin.

Interactive Map of the Destinations Growing the Most — by Origin Airport

Click on an airport to see the top 5 destinations that have grown the most in terms of passenger count. The map will display the overall total passenger traffic through the selected origin airport (2018), as well as the percentage increase in traffic to each of the top 5 destinations.

It turns out that California’s destinations are growing quite a bit in popularity. Of the 20 origin airports included in our study, 9 of them have at least 1 Golden State airport in their top 5 fastest-growing destinations. For example, the number of passengers traveling from Atlanta, GA (ATL) to Ontario, CA (ONT) grew 106% year-over-year. Even more striking: the number of those flying from Chicago, IL (ORD) to Burbank, CA (BUR) increased by 1,164%.

Other origin airports saw notable growth in passenger travel to smaller airports. An example of this is Denver, CO (DEN), which saw 714% growth in travelers heading to Cody, WY (COD). Similarly, the number of individuals traveling from Los Angeles, CA (LAX) to Omaha, NE (OMA) increased by 209% year-over-year.

Interactive Table of the Destinations Growing the Most — by Origin Airport

We also created an interactive table to visualize these results. Below, you’ll find the 5 destinations growing the most for each origin airport. This is the same information shown on the map above — simply in another format. You can use the search bar function if you’re looking for information about a specific airport.

As far as the top 5 fastest-growing destinations go, there are quite a few that are clearly experiencing a growth in traffic:

  • Milwaukee, WI shows up twice as the top growing destination for Houston’s and Seattle’s airports.
  • San Antonio is the fastest-growing destination for Fort Lauderdale and Philadelphia, and in the top 5 for Newark.
  • Sacramento is the fastest-growing destination for both Boston and Orlando. Nearly a third of these destinations are in multiple airports’ lists of top five fastest-growing destinations.

In fact, the places experiencing the most growth are Richmond, VA and Jacksonville, FL. These locations each appear in five of the top 5 fastest-growing destinations lists.

Meanwhile, Grand Rapids, MI shows up in 4 of the top 5 lists, and San Jose, San Antonio, Oakland, Key West, and Aguadilla are each in 3 of the top 5 lists.

It’s clear that the growth of a destination is not an isolated pattern. Destinations experiencing a growth in traffic are likely receiving an influx of passengers from airports across the United States.

Analysis Methodology

This study looked at the 20 busiest airports by total passenger boardings (2018) in the United States. We used data on the number of enplaned passengers from origin to destination from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). The year-over-year calculation is based on the percentage change in the count of passengers from Q4 2017 to Q4 2018. We included all routes (origin to destination) that had 500 passengers or higher per quarter.

Final Thoughts

Travel preferences will never stay constant. Travelers will continue to discover new hotspots to see and will want to keep checking off destinations from their bucket list. Ultimately, where you choose for your next vacation should be whatever will make you happiest, whether that’s a trip with your kids or a once-in-a-lifetime visit to London.

Frequently asked questions

What are the top 5 fastest growing destinations?

The top 5 fastest growing are Richmond, VA, Jacksonville, FL, San Jose, San Antonio, and Oakland.

Alex Miller

About Alex Miller

Alex has been traveling for over 25 years and from a young age was lucky enough to set out on numerous family trips all over the world, which gave him the travel bug. Alex has since earned millions of travel points and miles, mainly through maximizing credit card sign-up bonuses and taking every opportunity to earn the most points possible on each dollar spent.

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