Virtuoso reveals top destinations for upscale travelers this fall

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Global luxury travel network Virtuoso just revealed when, where and how the rich will travel next.

Respected as a leading industry trend forecaster, Virtuoso recently gathered data and insights from its network of travel counselors, preferred partners and ultra-high net worth clientele based on its data warehouse. over $ 49.5 billion in transactions and a series of ongoing investigations. The results were shared at the flagship luxury travel event, the 33rd Annual Virtuoso Travel Week. From August 8 to 13 at the Bellagio Resort & Casino and ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, the annual event is recognized as travel ‘fashion week’, where the latest news and trends affecting the industry are featured. unveiled.

According to the survey, the year 2021 has started with promise and growth across all areas of travel – tours, hotels and cruises, with 45% of respondents wanting to travel within the next three months. California leads as the top national destination, while Italy ranks first for overseas travel. City trips are experiencing a strong rebound and cruising, which was non-existent in 2020, continues to grow. The holiday season is already in full swing, with nearly half of Americans planning a vacation getaway.

Highlights of the survey:

Cruise travel

A year ago, only 26% of travelers said they would take a cruise and by June 2021 that number had risen to 46%.

Cruise bookings increased by 20% compared to 2020.

2022 cruise bookings exceed those of 2019.

For example, Regent Seven Seas Cruises has just unveiled its new 2023-2024 Voyage collection, comprising 129 nights and four Grand Voyages, with reservations open on August 18, 2021.

First calls: The Voyage 2023-2024 collection features 15 new stops, including the mysterious island of Vanuatu, the majestic island of Syros in Greece, the captivating and wild Lofoten Islands in Norway and the charming and colorful Puerto Banus in Spain.

New trips: Designed to create memories and stories that last a lifetime, Regent will take 139 incredible new journeys, with itineraries through Africa and Arabia, Alaska, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. , the South Pacific, Canada and New England, the Caribbean and the Panama Canal. , the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and South America, as well as transoceanic crossings and four fascinating great voyages to explore.

Vacation trip

About 41% of luxury travelers in Virtuoso data plan to travel during the 2021 holiday season. They have either booked their plans or are waiting to see how conditions evolve and will book closer to the date.

Sustainable travel

The pandemic is causing people to travel more responsibly in the future. The results indicate that travelers are aware of their place and impact in the world, which has led to what Virtuoso calls “conscious return”.

82 percent of travelers say the pandemic has caused them to want to travel more responsibly in the future

Hotel reservations

Hotel bookings increased 122% compared to 2020.

Urban hotel bookings have increased by 233% since January 2021, with the opening of cities and the return of visitors

71% of travelers prefer a gourmet trip over a wellness retreat – a shift from the focus in 2020 on travel for self-care.

Future prospects: international destinations

Virtuoso also looked at information gathered by users of Wanderlist, the network’s free interactive social site for dreaming and planning trips. A predictor of the next destination for high net worth shoppers, Wanderlist compiles the destinations and experiences travelers most expect in the future (pending travel restrictions.) Top 10 places:

· Italy

Greece

· France

Japan

Ireland

Australia

Spain

· Scotland

Mexico

Iceland

Helen McCabe-Young, vice president of marketing for San Diego-based Virtuoso, gave me an exclusive survey interview for Forbes.com, and that’s what happened.

What is the most surprising thing that you have discovered in this investigation?

It’s no big surprise that we’re on the right track for what we call a “conscious comeback” when it comes to sustainable and conscious travel which is on the rise. The 82% percentage of travelers said the pandemic had prompted them to travel more responsibly. Then 78% said it was important to choose companies with a strong focus on sustainability. These are important figures, and further underline that this is a huge market potential for the future. Our brand is focused on meaningful travel experiences which we believe translate into a higher return on life, with mindful travel being a force for good.

Why do you think California is leading the way as a top national destination?

Many reasons. California has a wide range of diverse experiences and generally good weather. It has beaches, national parks, towns, and ever-increasing dining and wine options that appeal to vacationers. It has a lot of diversity which is easily accessible while driving or flying. Many people who live in the state travel within the state.

Why do you think Italy is so popular?

Love for Italy is fairly universal. With a range of options ranging from sea to country, history, culture, the arts – the magnificent food and wine that are an important part of the interest of leisure travelers who do not know what to expect. never goes out of fashion. Italy has it all. When Italy is open, people go there.

Where will people go for the holidays in 2021?

This holiday season, islands and beaches will be a main draw. Cruising – ocean or river – is improving compared to last year. Adventure and wellness retreats have taken a step back from the 2020 holiday season.

Tell me about the momentum with the cruise.

First of all, cruise enthusiasts want to get back to it – there is a huge pent-up demand. For those who have never sailed in the past, this is a great way to see multiple destinations and take your hotel with you. Today, it is very reassuring for many people. It cuts down on a lot of hassle if you want to see multiple destinations. Cruise lines always do a good job enforcing safety and health protocols. Those planning cruises book a bit further – it’s a great experience with something for everyone.

Why do you think food and wine trips are currently more popular than wellness trips?

Part of it has to do with the return of opportunities. People can more freely engage in food and wine exploration – this is more common – to share these experiences. There is a return of this natural urge for this interest. Not necessarily a lack of interest in wellness, but people want the sheer pleasure of food and wine. It has long been a powerful driver of what people look for on leisure travel.

What is the most surprising destination?

There are so many pent-up demands. It depends on what is open and how easily people can do it. For domestic United States. Travel, the top five are Hawaii, California, Florida, Arizona and Tennessee.

What’s in Tennessee?

I ask the same question.

to learn more about my Wanderlust travelers, please follow me on Instagram at @Debbikickham and please subscribe to Forbes.com.



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