Australia is this year’s top Dream Destination among upscale travelers, according to Virtuoso, the international network of luxury travel agents that surveyed some 5,800 people. Following the Land Down Under are, in order of popularity, Italy, New Zealand, France, Greece, Ireland, the Caribbean, Fiji, England and Antarctica.
Each year Virtuoso conducts a survey that asks forward-looking questions and sizes up the answers. According to the results, 59 percent of respondents will take one to three trips this year, and their top travel pursuits are cultural/historical; cruising; adventure/nature; beach; family; food and wine; river cruising; city getaways; relaxation/spa, and romantic.
The survey also aims to identify consumers’ ideas of “trips of a lifetime.” Here are some sample findings and Virtuoso’s travel tips:
European River/Canal Cruises – Virtuoso says the extreme popularity of river cruising continues unabated. What’s new? A focus on families. River cruise lines are offering dedicated sailings, shore experiences, on-board programs, and even ships configured to target family groups.
World Cruises – These travelers are often seasoned explorers who have already been to some of the ports of call and done the typical excursions. Now they want to dig deeper beyond the tourist sights to discover something completely new.
Multigenerational travel – Matthew D. Upchurch, Virtuoso chairman and CEO, explains: “One of the smartest things you can do, if you have the means, is take your kids to China, India, or Brazil. These countries will influence much of the business being done now and in the future, and kids who have insight into these cultures, who learn to adapt in unfamiliar surroundings early on, and who gain an understanding of the world around them, will have a certain advantage when it’s time to enter the workforce.”
Exploring the Greek Isles – Travel to Greece is back on the rise, even placing it on Virtuoso’s list of top 10 summer destinations as well as the Hot List of fastest-growing destinations. Overall, travel to Greece is up 41 percent, with 58 percent of Virtuoso’s bookings occurring from June through August as travelers head to their favorite isles: Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, and Rhodes.
Australia’s highlights – Australia is the fastest-growing destination for luxury travelers, according to Virtuoso sales data. Bookings are up 137 percent from the same time period last year.
A month in Provence – Virtuoso advises: Rent a villa for a live-like-a-local experience. Virtuoso has access to more than 160 villas in this French region. Villa concierges can manage everything from pre-stocking the kitchen to organizing live music shows.
Galapagos Islands Expedition – Ecuador is the fastest growing destination – as well as the most popular – in South America, according to Virtuoso sales figures for summer 2015. Travel to the country is up 84 percent from last year.