With 2013 winding down, TripAdvisor users have rated Destin as one of the most-improved destinations in the United States.
Earlier this month, TripAdvisor announced the winners of the 2013 Travelers' Choice Awards. Destin made the list of Top 10 Destinations on the Rise, coming in at No. 3. Only Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and Anchorage, Alaska, ranked higher.
The rankings are decided by an algorithm that takes into account travelers' feedback, reviews and opinions on accommodations, restaurants and attractions on TripAdvisor.com throughout the year, and compares the rating to previous years.
"One of the things that we noticed this year is that many of the attractions have a really strong tie to nature. They are beautiful attractions," Erin Millard, public relations associate with TripAdvisor told The Log.
Throughout 2014, Destin's main page on TripAdvisor will be headlined with the designation, "Travelers' Choice 2013 Winner: Destination on the Rise."
The designation could mean a big boost for several commercial markets in the area in 2014, including restaurants, hotels and condo rentals, fishing and real estate. Ed Smith with RE/MAX Coastal Properties was excited to see the news in an email from TripAdvisor Thursday.
"Anytime we are recognized as one of the top 10 destinations in the country, it's very flattering," Smith said. "I think that anything that tends to cast a positive reflection on the area is going to be good for real estate and business in general. I think it's just another arrow in our quiver."
The Emerald Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau was also happy to hear about the rankings. They often work with TripAdvisor, and plan to use Destin's rating to promote the city.
“TripAdvisor is the dominant source of travel information on the internet,” Ed Schroeder, tourist development director with Emerald Coast, told The Log. “To have TripAdvisor’s customers think so highly of Destin and the Emerald Coast is fantastic.”
Check out the complete list of 2013 Travelers' Choice Awards at tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice.
Top 10 Destinations on the Rise in the U.S.
1. Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
2. Anchorage, Alaska
3. Destin, Florida
4. Bar Harbor, Maine
5. Santa Fe, New Mexico
6. Jackson, Wyoming
7. Galveston, Texas
8. Brooklyn, New York
9. Moab, Utah
10. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania