Travel site names five top destinations for deals in 2012Japan, Costa Rica, the Mediterranean, Orlando and Thailand have been identified as the best five destinations for anyone seeking a deal on their vacation in 2012.

Travelzoo Inc., a global internet travel company, interviewed more than 400 executives in the travel industry before coming up with its list of the places that will be offering the best value for money in the year ahead.

“We anticipate higher airfare prices, jaw-dropping hotel deals and an oversupply of cruise cabins,” said Gabe Saglie, senior editor for Travelzoo, as the firm’s Wow Deal Destinations were announced late last month.

The experts said their selections were based on events in the five areas in the past year as well as opportunities that are being lined up for 2012.

Japan, for example, was rocked last March by a huge earthquake and tsunami that were the worst natural disasters to strike the nation in living memory. But the country is now hungry to bring back the tourists, and high-end hotels are reducing their rates by as much as 50 percent to win over travelers.

Visitors can now stay in five-star hotels in notoriously expensive Tokyo for less than $200 a night, while Japan Airlines is adding a non-stop service to Boston in the spring that will make it easier to reach the Japanese capital from the East Coast of the US.

Costa Rica is on the list as this year a number of airlines are increasing their capacity to the country bordering the Caribbean Sea, creating more deals, while the US city of Orlando, Florida, is expected to be offering deals because there is likely to be weak demand for convention travel, meaning that there will be plenty of rooms available for holidaymakers.

Travel companies were recently offering deals at a four-star Orlando resort for $65 a night — half the regular price — and it included spa discounts, breakfast with a Disney character, guaranteed tee-off times on the Disney championship golf courses and complimentary theme park shuttles.

Thailand has also suffered from a major natural disaster this year, the flooding in the latter months of the year playing havoc with its all-important travel industry. As the waters recede, the government and hotel operators are promoting special deals, with five-star hotels offering stays of $100 a night, including massages and meals. Similar deals are available on longer trips, such as an eight-night, four-city package with flights, meals and transfers for just $999 per person.

The Mediterranean also makes the list because of the political uncertainty across North Africa and the result that many cruise ship operators have opted to stay on the northern shores of the sea. Operators are also involved in a cut-throat price-cutting war, meaning there will be a glut of cabins available in European waters this summer and deals such as a 10-night trip that takes in Italy, Greece, Turkey and Egypt for just $549 per person.