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Luxury travelers are seeking adventures in less explored areas and, wherever they go, they’re looking for customized local experiences, according to the 2017 Virtuoso Luxe Report.
Findings from the luxury travel network’s survey included increased demand for international trips of two weeks or longer and the continued strength of multigenerational travel. Japan made its way onto the emerging destination list for the first time due to growing interest in that country as a less traditional family travel destination.
A total of 772 advisors from Virtuoso’s travel agency partners in North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East were surveyed, providing global insights on trends for the new year.
New for this year’s Luxe Report, Virtuoso sought insight into rapidly changing destinations, some of which are endangered. The United Nations has declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, making this topic particularly timely and relevant.
Cuba topped that list with concerns that its rich cultural heritage will be impacted by increased tourism. Advisors also named the polar regions of Antarctica and the Arctic due to the threat of global warming.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, which is losing its coral due to pollution, and Venice, with its deteriorating lagoon, also made the list.
According to the report, upscale travel is thriving with trips selling out earlier than in past years. It found that many travelers are booking farther in advance, even one to two years for bigger trips.
Virtuoso is also seeing more requests for business and first-class air travel, as well as nonstop flights. Late bookers face higher rates and fewer flight options.
South Africa retains its spot as the world’s top adventure travel destination, followed by the Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica and New Zealand, in the report. Peru and Iceland—new to the top five this year—tied for fifth place while Iceland, especially, is experiencing remarkable growth as an adventure destination.
Key findings from the report:
Top Travel Trends Top Emerging Destinations
1. Multigenerational travel 1. Cuba
2. Active or adventure trips 2. Iceland
3. River cruising 3. Croatia
4. Travel with immediate family 4. South Africa
5. Celebration travel 5. Japan
Top Endangered/Changing Destinations Top Adventure Destinations
1. Cuba 1. South Africa
2. Antarctica 2. Galapagos Islands
3. Great Barrier Reef 3. Costa Rica
4. Venice 4. New Zealand
5. The Arctic 5. Peru/Iceland (tie)
Top Global Destinations Top U.S. Destinations
1. Italy 1. New York, NY
2. South Africa 2. Maui, HI
3. France 3. Napa Valley/Sonoma, CA
4. Iceland 4. Las Vegas, NV
5. Australia 5. Miami/South Beach, FL
Top Family Travel Destinations Top Honeymoon Destinations
1. Italy 1. Italy
2. Mexico 2. Maui, HI
3. Hawaii 3. French Polynesia
4. Orlando, FL 4. Maldives
5. England 5. Mexico
Top Cruise Itineraries Top Travel Motivations
1. Mediterranean 1. Exploring new destinations
2. Alaska 2. Seeking authentic experiences
3. European river 3. Rest and relaxation
4. Caribbean 4. Personal enrichment
5. Greek Isles 5. Seeking adventure