Last updated: 05:37 PM ET, Thu July 02 2015

Virtuoso Unveils Top Destinations Booked by Luxury Travelers

Host Agency & Consortia | Virtuoso | James Shillinglaw | April 28, 2015

Virtuoso Unveils Top Destinations Booked by Luxury Travelers

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Luxury travel network Virtuoso, at its annual Virtuoso Symposium in Hong Kong for agency owners and preferred suppliers, unveiled the top destinations being booked by travel agency members for their luxury customers in the second quarter for this summer, as well as the “hot” destinations — those places seeing the most significant growth in bookings for the summer.

The new data, based on actual Virtuoso member U.S. and Canada agency bookings, not surprisingly, finds that luxury travelers continue to vacation predominantly in Europe, but not quite in the numbers expected given the higher value of the dollar against the euro. According to Virtuoso member agencies, the top 10 countries for summer travel based on future bookings are, in order: 1) United Kingdom, 2) Italy, 3) France, 4) Canada, 5) Spain, 6) Germany, 7) Netherlands, 8) South Africa, 9) Ireland and 10) Greece.

While Europe continues to dominate the list of favored destinations, Virtuoso’s overall sales to the region are slightly down by 4 percent compared to the same second quarter period in 2014. The United Kingdom continues to be the number one spot for travelers, but bookings for Spain are up 4 percent and Germany is enjoying a seven percent, most likely driven because they offer greater value.

The average daily rate (ADR) for Virtuoso’s partner hotels in Spain is nearly 35 percent lower than the European average of $761 per night, while Germany’s hotel ADR is about half the European average at $419 per night. With a 20 percent increase in bookings, Canada, the only non-European country on the list, is the fastest growing of the Top 10 destinations, with Vancouver accounting for almost half of Virtuoso’s air bookings.

Meanwhile, the top 10 countries that have seen the largest percentage of growth in year-over-year bookings for the second quarter are 1) Australia (up 137 percent), 2) China (up 101 percent), 3) Ecuador (up 84 percent), 4) Iceland (up 49 percent), 5) Greece (up 41 percent), 6) Japan (up 35 percent), 7) Turkey (up 29 percent), 8) United Arab Emirates (up 22 percent), 9) Canada (up 20 percent), and 10) Croatia (up 18 percent) .

Australia leads the way among the top 10 hot destinations with triple digit growth. China comes in second largely due to the popularity of Hong Kong, which accounts for almost half of its air traffic. Elsewhere, Ecuador was the fastest growing destination in South America for the second quarter, while Iceland is up and coming with a 49 percent jump in traffic. Travel to Greece is back with 58 percent of bookings occurring June through August as travelers head to such islands as Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, and Rhodes.

Virtuoso now has 355 travel agencies with more than 9,000 travel advisors in 26 countries throughout North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific and Europe, as well as more than 1,700 luxury travel supplies.  The network’s member agencies generate more than $14 billion annually in travel sales.

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