Last updated: 10:00 PM ET, Tue April 19 2016

Virtuoso Releases Its Top 10 Destinations for Summer 2016

Host Agency & Consortia | Virtuoso | Robin Amster | April 19, 2016

Virtuoso Releases Its Top 10 Destinations for Summer 2016

Virtuoso’s 2016 top summer travel destinations — a list based on $35 billion in transactions by its network of luxury travel advisors — includes perennial European favorites, but there are also a few surprises.

The consortium’s Top 10 list represents the most popular destinations based on future bookings while its Hot 10 list is made up of countries that have seen the largest percentage of growth in year-over-year bookings.

Africa has emerged as a hot destination, with a 15 percent growth in travel to the continent this year over last. Among African destinations, Tanzania is experiencing a huge increase in bookings, given its stunning scenery and diversity of wildlife.

South Africa is also up from 2015’s summer bookings; together the two countries represent 80 percent of Virtuoso’s travel to Africa.

With the upcoming Summer Olympics, to be held Aug. 5-21, Brazil is seeing a big boost in popularity. More tried destinations Mexico and Jamaica are benefiting from inexpensive direct flights from the U.S. as well as reasonable hotel rates.   

In Europe, Portugal is also up significantly, especially to the Azores. Average daily (hotel) rates (ADR) there are particularly attractive at 58 percent lower than the European average. Of the European countries, Portugal is registering the strongest year-over-year growth, although Ireland, Russia, the Netherlands, Sweden and Poland also won places in the Virtuoso’s list of Hot 10 destinations.

Virtuoso reported sales to Europe are flat for this summer over last summer even though it continues to dominate the list of favorite destinations with eight of the 10 countries.

Led by Paris, France has experienced a nice rebound and remains strong. In general those European countries offering great value are seeing increases.

Bookings to the Netherlands, for instance, are up 38 percent this summer over last as Virtuoso’s partner hotels there are showing ADR’s of 44 percent lower than the European average of $793 a night.

Ireland’s ADR is also favorable at 31 percent lower than the European average. That has led to a 58 percent jump in bookings to the country. Dublin, Galway and county  Laois, in the center of Ireland, are particularly popular.

The Virtuoso Top 10:

The most popular destinations for summer vacations based on future bookings.

  1. Italy (Florence pictured above)
  2. United Kingdom
  3. France
  4. Spain
  5. Netherlands
  6. Ireland
  7. Germany
  8. South Africa
  9. Greece
  10. Israel

The Virtuoso Hot 10:

The countries that have seen the largest percentage of growth in year-over-year bookings (percentage rise in parentheses)

  1. Tanzania (+98)
  2. Portugal (+88)
  3. Ireland (+58)
  4. Brazil (+53)
  5. Mexico (+48)
  6. Russia (+44)
  7. Netherlands (+38)
  8. Jamaica (+28)
  9. Sweden (+23)
  10. Poland (+18) 

The lists are based on data from Virtuoso’s U.S. and Canadian-based travel agency members and reflects future travel for June, July and August 2016. The Top and Hot 10 lists represent international travel only, so neither the U.S. nor Canada is mentioned on them. The findings were announced during the group’s annual Symposium taking place in Cape Town this week. 

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