Last updated: 10:51 AM ET, Wed February 17 2016

Where Are Travelers Headed This Year? Ask Virtuoso.

Host Agency & Consortia | Virtuoso | Robin Amster | February 05, 2016

Where Are Travelers Headed This Year? Ask Virtuoso.

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

International travel is up this year, with upscale travelers seeking out exotic destinations in addition to warm-weather favorites for winter and spring vacations, according to data from Virtuoso.

The luxury consortium has analyzed its more than $35 billion in transactions from its U.S. and Canadian-based travel agency members for its look at travel patterns from January through March, 2016.

Mexico and Canada finished first and second in Virtuoso’s ten most popular destinations, not surprising given their proximity to the U.S., the consortium said.

READ MORE: 7 Mexican Hotels That Define Colonial Luxury

Also as expected, Southern destinations dominate the top ten in the Northern Hemisphere, with the U.K. as one notable European exception. Australia and New Zealand, two already popular luxury destinations, are experiencing solid growth.

But luxury travelers are also turning to more novel destinations in Asia and South America. Travel to India is booming while Argentina and Chile are turning in strong performances. Virtuoso noted that half of these destinations are English-speaking, making them more comfortable for American travelers.

READ MORE: 5 Reasons to Visit New Brunswick, Canada

The consortium also reported a surge in bookings to Africa, where luxury travel has grown more than any other continent. An upward trend in travel to both South Africa and Kenya contributed to the continent’s 29 percent boost this year over last year. Warm-weather locales elsewhere are also well represented, but these are not traditional sun-and-sand spots.

Other destinations in Asia and Latin America are trending strongly while developing countries like Vietnam and Colombia are also represented as “hot” destinations, indicating the significant appeal of different cultures and cuisine.

Following are:

Virtuoso’s Top Ten Destinations for Winter and Spring

  1.       Mexico
  2.       Canada
  3.       Australia
  4.       New Zealand
  5.       United Kingdom
  6.       South Africa
  7.       Argentina
  8.       India
  9.       Chile
  10.       China

Virtuoso’s Hot Ten Destinations for Winter and Spring (showing the most significant growth in year-over-year bookings for the first quarter).

  1.       Panama (+107 percent)
  2.       Thailand (+92 percent)
  3.       Switzerland (+56 percent)
  4.       South Africa (+50 percent)
  5.       Kenya (+47 percent)
  6.       India (+46 percent)
  7.       Jamaica (+44 percent)
  8.       Vietnam (+43 percent)
  9.       Colombia (+39 percent)
  10.       Spain (+34 percent) 

For more information on Virtuoso

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