spring destinations: Mexico beach with lounge chairs and palm trees
Mexico is the most popular destination for luxury travelers this spring

Where are this year’s most popular spring destinations for upscale travelers?

It’s no surprise that people are seeking warm-weather locales to escape the Northern Hemisphere’s cold. But they’re looking beyond just the usual sun-and-sand destinations. Luxury travelers are roaming the globe to more exotic places for their break from the chill and damp.

Virtuoso has analyzed fresh data from its warehouse of more than $35 billion in travel transactions. It’s uncovered 18 spring destinations where wealthy travelers are heading.

Virtuoso’s Top 10 Spring Destinations

The most popular destinations for luxury travelers taking vacations in the first quarter of 2016.

  1. Mexico
  2. Canada
  3. Australia
  4. New Zealand
  5. United Kingdom
  6. South Africa
  7. Argentina
  8. India
  9. Chile
  10. China
spring destinations: taj mahal in india
Exotic Asian destinations, such as India, are trending strongly for luxury travel this spring

Global travel is up overall. And travelers are flocking to a mix of eternally fashionable places and more unusual choices.

Mexico and Canada finish first and second. Their strength isn’t a surprise due to their proximity to the United States. Southern destinations dominate the Top 10 as usual for winter in the Northern Hemisphere. One notable European exception is the U.K., always in style with luxury travelers.

Australia and New Zealand are experiencing solid growth, especially for two already popular destinations.

Upscale travelers, always searching for novel locales, are finding them in Asia and South America. India in particular is surging. It landed on both the Top 10 and Hot 10 lists. And Argentina and Chile continue to beckon wealthy travelers with their mix of food, wine, diverse landscapes and history.

It’s also worth noting that half these destinations are English-speaking. That makes them more comfortable for U.S travelers.

Virtuoso’s Hot 10 Spring Destinations

These countries have seen the most significant growth in year-over-year bookings for the first quarter.

  1. Panama (+107%)
  2. Thailand (+92%)
  3. Switzerland (+56%)
  4. South Africa (+50%)
  5. Kenya (+47%)
  6. India (+46%)
  7. Jamaica (+44%)
  8. Vietnam (+43%)
  9. Colombia (+39%)
  10. Spain (+34%)
spring destinations: three lions in south africa
Travel to Africa is booming, and South Africa made both the Top 10 and Hot 10 lists this spring

Bookings to Africa are booming. Luxury travel there has grown more than any other continent. The noteworthy upward movement for both South Africa and Kenya contributed to the continent’s 29 percent boost year over year. South Africa, like India, earned a slot on both lists as popular and fast-growing.

Warm-weather locales are indeed well represented. But they’re not traditional sun-and-sand spots. Select destinations in Asia and Latin America are trending strongly. Developing countries such as Vietnam and Colombia appear on the Hot List, indicating the significant appetite for culture, cuisine and fresh frontiers.

How to Book Travel to These Spring Destinations…Or Anywhere Else

Want to escape the winter gloom? Have these lists given you ideas for exotic, far-flung destinations – or places closer to home?

A Virtuoso travel advisor can help you plan your spring getaway. Find out more about the advantages of Virtuoso – and find an advisor – at virtuoso.com.