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PHOTO: Bethells Beach, New Zealand. The country earned high levels of interest in Travel Leaders Group's luxury travel agent survey. (Photo by Janeen Christoff)
Iceland, New Zealand and Portugal are the three countries rated with the "highest level of interest" for travel among the Global Peace Index's top performing countries, according to a Travel Leaders Groupsurvey of its luxury travel agents.
The survey compares the top-performing countries from the Global Peace Index with U.S. luxury travelers' interests. Annually, the "Global Peace Index" (GPI) ranks "163 independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness." It's compiled by the Institute for Economics and Peace, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank.
"By comparing the top-performing countries from the Global Peace Index with our luxury travelers' interests, we were hoping to gauge whether there is any symmetry between the two - and we discovered that in several cases, symbiotic relationships have been developed that could significantly shape our industry in the years to come," said Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko.
"These particular ten countries - which have long been a part of our overall, comprehensive list of top destinations for American travelers - may experience unprecedented growth in traveler appeal. That's clearly been the case with Iceland, and, by all indications, New Zealand is on the cusp."
In its recent survey, the Travel Leaders Group asked its luxury travel agents to identify the level of interest their most discerning clientele have in visiting the Top 10 most peaceful countries as identified in the 2016 Global Peace Index.
New Zealand was the clear leader, in terms of "highest level of interest," followed by Iceland and Portugal.
When combining all interest levels for affluent travelers, New Zealand again ranked number one while Switzerland came in second and Iceland placed third.
The full results are:
Top Ranked Peaceful Countries
Travel Leaders Group also asked its luxury travel agents about their expertise in counseling high-end clients on these ten destinations.
It found firsthand knowledge to be an important factor for many affluent travelers in working with a professional travel consultant:
When asked, "Have you, personally, visited any of these (10) countries in the last 5 years?" the largest percentages of the Group's luxury travel agents surveyed recently visited: (1) Canada, (2) Austria, and (3) Switzerland.
Another key indicator of expertise in a particular destination is extensive education and training leading to specialization and certification.
Close to 17 percent of those surveyed consider themselves specialists based on their personal experience traveling throughout New Zealand and planning vacations for their affluent clientele.
Another nearly 8 percent of luxury travel agents surveyed said they are officially 100% PURE Kiwi specialists through Tourism New Zealand's training program.
Following New Zealand, the next leading countries for advisors who said they are formally certified were: (2) Switzerland, (3) Canada, (4) Japan and (5) Iceland.
"Travel not only allows us to literally see the world, but it also fosters the ultimate bridge toward better understanding different peoples and cultures. Our shared curiosity leads to a greater appreciation and empathy for the world around us," said Gail Grimmett, president of Protravel International and Tzell Travel Group. Both are a part of the Travel Leaders Group and are known for their luxury travel agent advisors.
The survey data on luxury traveler interest in the Top 10 countries on the Global Peace Index is based on responses from 785 Travel Leaders Group's luxury travel agent experts across the U.S.
These findings are also part of the larger 2016 Fall Travel Trends Survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group from July 28 through August 24, 2016. Participants in the full survey included 1,145 travel agent experts from the flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group's Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com units.
Robin Amster is Executive Editor, Travel Agents, Host Agencies and Consortia for Agent@Home magazine and Vacation Agent...
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