The global luxury travel network Virtuoso has just revealed when, where and how the wealthy will travel next.
Respected as an industry-leading trend forecaster, Virtuoso recently gathered data and insights from its network of travel advisors, preferred partners and ultra-high customer value based on its data inventory of more than $ 49.5 billion. In transactions and an ongoing series of investigations. The results were shared at the luxury travel’s leading event, 33rd annual Virtuoso Travel Week. The 8.-13. August runs at Las Vegas’ Bellagio Resort & Casino and ARIA Resort & Casino, and the annual event is recognized as “fashion week” for travel, revealing the latest news and trends affecting the industry.
According to the survey, the year 2021 started with promise and growth in all travel sectors – tours, hotels and cruises, where 45 percent of respondents would travel within the next three months. California leads as the best domestic destination, while Italy is number one for overseas travel. Urban emissions make a strong rebound and cruising, which was not existing in 2020, shows continued momentum. The high season is already going strong, and almost half of Americans are planning a vacation getaway.
Highlights of the study:
· A year ago, only 26 percent of travelers said they would take a cruise, and in June 2021, that number rose to 46 percent.
· Cruise bookings will increase by 20 percent from 2020.
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· 2022 cruise bookings surpass 2019 bookings.
For example, Regent Seven Seas Cruises just unveiled its new Voyage Collection 2023-2024 with 129 nights and four Grand Voyages, with reservations opening August 18, 2021.
Maiden Calls: Voyage Collection 2023-2024 boasts 15 new ports of call, including Vanuatus Mystery Island, the majestic island of Syros in Greece, the captivating and untamed Lofoten Islands in Norway and the charming colorful Puerto Banus in Spain.
New trips: Designed to create lifelong memories and stories, Regent sails an incredible 139 new voyages of travel across 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 Grand Voyages to explore.
About 41 percent of luxury travelers in Virtuoso data are considering traveling during the 2021 holiday season. They have either booked their plans or are waiting to see how conditions develop and will book closer to the date.
The pandemic is making people travel more responsibly in the future. The results indicate that travelers know their place and influence in the world, and this has led to what Virtuoso calls “the conscious comeback.”
· 82 percent of travelers say the pandemic has made them want to travel more responsibly in the future
· Hotel reservations have increased 122 percent compared to 2020.
· Reservations for city hotels have increased 233 percent since January 2021, when cities opened and visitors returned
· 71 percent of travelers prefer a food-and-wine trip compared to a wellness retreat — a shift from 2020’s focus on self-care travel.
Looking ahead: International destinations
Virtuoso also reviewed insights from users of Wanderlist, the network’s free interactive social site for dream trips and travel planning. Wanderlist, which is a prediction of where high-wealth customers will go next, brings together the destinations and experiences that travelers most expect in the future (pending travel restrictions.) Top 10 locations:
Helen McCabe-Young, Virtuoso senior vice president of marketing based in San Diego, gave me an exclusive interview about the survey for Forbes.com, and that’s what happened.
What was the most surprising thing you discovered in this study?
Not a big surprise that we are well on our way to what we call a “conscious comeback” in terms of sustainable and conscious travel that is on the rise. The sheer percentage of 82% of travelers said the pandemic made them want to travel more responsibly. Then 78% said it was important to choose companies that have a strong focus on sustainability. These are significant figures, and it further underscores that this is a huge market potential for the future. Our brand focus is on meaningful travel experiences that we believe result in a higher return on life, where conscious travel is a force for good.
Why do you think California leads as a top domestic destination?
Several reasons. California has a wide variety of different experiences and generally good weather. It has beaches, national parks, cities and ever-increasing opportunities for food and wine that appeal to leisure travelers. It has a lot of diversity that is easily accessible either through driving or flying. Many people living in the state travel in the state.
Why do you think Italy is so popular?
The love for Italy is pretty universal. With a range of options from sea to landscape, historical, cultural, art-the magnificent food and wine that is a big part of leisure travelers’ interest that never goes out of fashion. Italy has it in savings. When Italy is open, people go.
Where are people going on holiday trips in 2021?
This holiday season, islands and beaches will be a main attraction. Cruising – sea or river – shows improvements over last year. Adventure and wellness retreats took a bit of a downturn as opposed to Christmas 2020.
Tell me about momentum with cruising.
First of all, eager cruises will come back to it — there is a huge amount of pent-up demand. For those who have not previously had a cruise, it is a really good way to see more destinations and take your hotel with you. Today, it is very reassuring for many people. It reduces a lot of hassle if you want to see more destinations. Cruise ships always do a good job of safety and health protocols. Those planning cruises book a little further out – it’s a great experience with something for everyone.
Why do you think food-and-wine tours are more popular right now than wellness tours?
Some of it has to do with returning. People can engage more freely in exploring food and wine – it’s more communal – to share these experiences. There is a return of the natural urge for that interest. Not necessarily a lack of interest in wellness, but people will have the great pleasure of food and wine. It has long been a strong driver for what people are looking for on leisure trips.
What is the most surprising destination?
There is so much pent-up demand. It depends on what is open and the ease with which people can do it. To domestic United States. Travel, the top five are Hawaii, California, Florida, Arizona and Tennessee.
What’s in Tennessee?
I ask the same question.
for more on my Wanderlust travelers, follow me on Instagram at @Debbikickham and subscribe to Forbes.com.