Where are upscale travelers in the know heading for their getaways? The Virtuoso Luxe Report has the inside scoop on the world’s top destinations for the year ahead. Published each year, the report surveys Virtuoso’s expert travel advisors around the globe on the hottest trends they see for the year to come.
Read on to discover where everyone from families to adventure-seekers to honeymooners are off to in the coming year.
Top Global Destinations
- South Africa
Italy’s eternal appeal lands it in first place among the world’s top destinations for the coming year. Next, South Africa rises to number two, boosted by its unique array of wildlife. France, a mainstay of the top global destinations list, takes third place. Iceland, a fast-growing luxury destination, lands on the list for the first time. Finally, ever-popular Australia, with its variety of urban and nature experiences, rounds out the top five.
Top U.S. Destinations
- New York, NY
- Maui, HI
- Napa Valley/Sonoma, CA
- Las Vegas, NV
- Miami/South Beach, FL
The Big Apple reigns again atop the list of favorite upscale American destinations. Second is Maui, always strong in the Luxe Report. Culinary fans in particular flock to Napa and Sonoma for wine tasting and fine dining. Next, its strength in everything from restaurants to entertainment to shopping land Las Vegas in fourth place. And the Miami area, offering a warm-weather vacation in a cosmopolitan setting, takes fifth.
Top Emerging Destinations
- South Africa
The emerging destinations list reveals the world’s top destinations where upscale travelers seeking something off the beaten path will roam. Cuba was a strong number-one, with pent-up demand from Americans curious about the island nation. Next were Iceland, Croatia and South Africa. New to the top five is Japan, experiencing new popularity among a variety of travelers, including families.
Top Endangered/Changing Destinations
- Great Barrier Reef
- The Arctic
New this year: Virtuoso sought insight into rapidly changing destinations. Sadly, some are changing to the point of being endangered. Cuba also topped this list, with concerns over retaining its rich cultural heritage in the face of increased tourism. The polar regions of Antarctica and the Arctic also made the top five due to the threat of global warming. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, which is losing its coral due to pollution, finished third. Last, Venice, with its deteriorating lagoon, came in fifth. As the United Nations has declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, this list is particularly timely.
Top Family Travel Destinations
- Orlando, FL
Some families seek an adventure with cultural or historic charm, as is evidenced by Italy’s continued reign at number one and fifth-place England. Other families look for a carefree warm-weather escape, with Mexico and Hawaii placing second and third. Orlando, with its world-famous family theme parks, finishes in fourth place.
Top Adventure Destinations
- South Africa
- Galapagos Islands
- Costa Rica
- New Zealand
- Peru/Iceland (tie)
Travelers crave active experiences tailored to their interests and abilities. And they’re venturing all over the globe to find them. South Africa retains its spot as the top adventure travel destination, followed by the Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica and New Zealand. Peru and Iceland (new to the top 5 this year) tied for fifth place. And Iceland in particular is seeing remarkable growth as one of the world’s top destinations.
Top Honeymoon Destinations
- Maui, HI
- French Polynesia
Italy wins its third Luxe Report category as one of the world’s top destinations for its appeal to newlyweds searching for a romantic Old World experience. The other four on the list – all usual favorites – beckon for their sun-and-sand appeal and gorgeous tropical settings.
Top Cruise Itineraries
- European river
- Greek Isles
The allure of a Mediterranean cruise holds steady, topping the itinerary category again. As well, pristine destinations where nature takes center stage, such as Alaska, performed strongly this year. So it’s no surprise that the state takes the number-two position among cruise itineraries. Next in third: European river cruises, a favorite for their intimate ships and immersion into historic destinations. Finally, two tried-and-true island itineraries, the Caribbean and Greece, round out the top five.
Seeing the World’s Top Destinations
A total of 772 advisors from Virtuoso travel agencies in North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and the Middle East took the survey. If you want to tap their expertise yourself to visit any of these world’s top destinations, browse Virtuoso’s catalog of professional travel advisors here.
What’s on your list for next year’s travels?