Why 2016 is being called 'The Year of the American Traveler'

A report says there's no better time to be an American traveler than 2016.

The year 2016 has been declared "The Year of the American Traveler," thanks to the strength of the US dollar, plummeting oil prices, relaxed visa rules and Cuba.

It's a bold declaration made by experts at the New York-based market research platform Skift, who paint an optimistic picture of the coming year and predict 2016 to mark a turning page for American travelers.

"If you're a US citizen with disposable income, your odds of having a stellar year of travel are higher now than they've been in at least two decades," reads the report entitled "Megatrends Defining Travel in 2016."

First, there's the greenback, which is at a 10-year high against the euro, the Brazilian real, Japanese yen and Turkish lira, authors say.

Next, oil prices have dropped so low American families can now plan two road trips for the price of one.

Now is also the time to visit Brazil, continues the report, with visa requirements suspended for the three-month period around the summer Olympics, and Cuba presenting another travel option that was previously off-limits to Americans.

With fatter wallets and broader horizons, US globetrotters face some of the best traveling conditions that they've had in a decade, authors write.

In addition to calling 2016 a stellar year for Americans, the report singles out other interesting trends they predict will redefine the travel industry.

Though food tourism is nothing new, analysts say that culinary tourism will become the most important attraction for tourists and will cement its position as "the leading hook in travel."

"In a time in which almost every experience can be digitized, food stands alone as stubbornly analog," authors say.

In Denmark, chef René Redzepi's restaurant Noma is credited with bringing hordes of tourists to Copenhagen and redefining the Scandinavian travel landscape.

Street food in Asia has become so popular, that the revered Michelin guide added a new section in their latest Hong Kong and Macau guide dedicated to cheap food stalls.

And VisitBritain's strategy for promoting Manchester is to extol the virtues of its gastropubs, authors note.

Meanwhile, the explosive growth of fast casual restaurants like Chipotle and Shake Shack which upended the fast food industry, will also be seen increasingly in travel, with self-serve meals and check-in kiosks, free wifi, and lean decor replacing the complexity and stuffiness of legacy hotel brands, predicts the report.

A trend that's gaining momentum thanks to new and emerging hotel brands like Element, Aloft and Moxy, all of which have the younger, cost-conscious Millennial traveler in mind.

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