Are These 18 Top Summer Travel Destinations on Your List?

Summer travel destinations: bagpiper on banks of Thames in London

The U.K. is the most popular summer travel destination, according to Virtuoso agency bookingss

This summer luxury travelers are winging their way to classic European destinations. But they’re also choosing to visit specific countries on virtually every continent.

Two new Virtuoso lists show where upscale vacationers are heading during this year’s busy summer travel season. The information comes from booking data from Virtuoso’s U.S. and Canadian member travel agencies.

Top 10 Summer Travel Destinations

The most-booked summer travel destinations are:

  1. United Kingdom
  2. Italy
  3. France
  4. Canada
  5. Spain
  6. Germany
  7. Netherlands
  8. South Africa
  9. Ireland
  10. Greece
summer travel destinations: greece town and water view

Greece is the fastest-growing destination in Europe this summer, bucking the trend of flat sales to the continent

Europe continues to rule the list with eight of the top 10 slots. The U.K. held onto last year’s number-one spot. Other usual favorites such as Italy and France also ranked highly.

Bookings for Spain are up four per cent and Germany is seeing a seven per cent increase. That’s probably because of their relative value. The average daily rate for Virtuoso’s partner hotels in Spain is almost 35 per cent lower than the European average of $761 per night. And Germany’s hotel average daily rates are about half the European average at $419 per night.

Overall, though, Europe sales are slightly down. That’s despite the U.S. dollar’s strength against the euro.

One European destination stands out for its big sales jump, however. Bookings to Greece are up 41% from last year. It’s the fastest-growing destination on the continent.

Canada is also hot, with 20% growth from last year at this time. The most popular destination: Vancouver, with almost half of the air bookings.

Hot 10 Summer Travel Destinations

The Hot 10 list features summer travel destinations that have seen the largest percentage of growth over the past year:

summer travel destinations: australia great barrier reef diving

Australia is the fastest-growing luxury destination worldwide – popular in both summer and winter

  1. Australia
  2. China
  3. Ecuador
  4. Iceland
  5. Greece
  6. Japan
  7. Turkey
  8. United Arab Emirates
  9. Canada
  10. Croatia 

Australia is seeing impressive growth. It’s up 137%, showing that in addition to its popular summer season, luxury travelers like its winter offerings.

Travelers are also flocking to China. It’s up 101%, with Hong Kong accounting for almost half of its air traffic.

Ecuador is both the most popular and fastest growing destination in South America. Travel is up a significant 84%.

summer travel destinations: vancouver skyline at night

Canada is one of the most visited countries as well as one of the fastest-growing destinations

Iceland and Greece continue to be desired summer travel destinations. A majority of their bookings happen from June through August.

Finding Your Perfect Summer Travel Destination

Where are you heading for your summer vacation? And do you have a Virtuoso travel advisor who can do everything from suggesting ideas to securing you privileges at more than 1,000 partners around the world?

If not, you can find an advisor who will be a great match for you at www.virtuoso.com.

What Do Upscale Travelers Pick As Their Top Travel Dreams?

Travel Dreams Slideshow

Click on the image above to view the top selections in this year’s Virtuoso Life Travel Dreams Survey

Where are upscale travelers heading these days? Which destinations are hot for specific types of travel? And if travelers could go anywhere or do anything, what would that dream trip look like?

The answers to those questions and more are in the newly released eighth annual Virtuoso Life Travel Dreams Survey. Nearly 9,000 clients of Virtuoso travel advisors took the survey, highlighting the latest trends in luxury travel.

Australia continued its reign as the top dream destination, while perennial favorite Paris finished first in three categories. Cruising also continued to rank high, with European river sailings besting other itineraries and a round-the-world cruise topping the trips of a lifetime. This mirrors what Virtuoso sees in traveler demand, with 2015 world cruises nearly sold out already.

The top Travel Dreams are: [Read more…]

Growing Interest in Green Travel

Ecotourism: glacier viewToday’s travelers are increasingly savvy about their environmental impact on destinations.  In fact, according to the Center for Responsible Travel, green travel is expected to rise to 25% of the world’s travel market.

“Consumers are demanding higher environmental standards in all parts of their lives, including travel,” says Emily Deemer, marketing and sustainability manager at Virtuoso tour operator Natural Habitat Adventures in Boulder, Colorado.  “Ecotourism makes business sense because it helps to preserve a travel company’s greatest assets: the environment, the culture, and the livelihood of host communities.” [Read more…]

New Virtuoso Destination Guide Features Island Adventures

Discover Treasured Islands and Adventures Down Under.

What arouses your travel passion and ignites your imagination? Perhaps it’s the romantic allure of a sun-soaked day spent on a private beach. The enjoyment of savoring unique island cuisines. Or discovering the peculiar wildlife, unrivaled wine routes and ancient cultures waiting Down Under.

The November, Island Adventures Destination Guide, features an amazing and unsurpassed collection of cruise itineraries, vacation packages and exclusive values. To enjoy the digital version in its entirety, click here.

Whether you explore Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii or the South Pacific by land or sea, your Virtuoso travel advisor can create the best travel experience that features an array of exclusive amenities you simply can’t find anywhere else. When a Virtuoso travel advisor plans your vacation, they deliver:

• Value – We have access to pricing, amenities, perks, upgrades and experiences not available anywhere else.
• Customized experiences – Designed with you and for you.
• Confidence – You’ll rest easy knowing we’re handling all the details before, during and after your trip.

A travel advisor provides invaluable assistance that will make your Island Adventure truly extraordinary. For a weekend getaway or the trip of a lifetime, call on us. Don’t have a travel advisor? Click here to find one.

Travel Aspirations Go Global

Virtuoso Life Magazine reveals the results of the annual Travel Dreams Survey

In 2010, travel aspirations have gone global, according to the results from the fourth annual Travel Dreams Sweepstakes Survey, presented by Virtuoso. Nearly 11,000 readers of VIRTUOSO LIFE, the network’s award-winning magazine, weighed in on the survey to reveal the exotic lands, life-changing experiences and thrilling adventures that upscale travelers are currently seeking.

When asked what they consider the trip of a lifetime, readers were clear that setting sail for a world cruise would be a paramount experience. Calling on all seven continents and visiting the new wonders of the world followed close behind as trips of a lifetime, indicating the desire of travelers to visit the globe. The Galápagos Islands also had a strong presence in this year’s results: This island destination was named the most alluring island escape; the second best outdoor adventure; and the third best destination for families.

“This year’s survey results reflect a shift in consumers’ motivation to travel,” said Elaine Srnka, editorial director for VIRTUOSO LIFE. “Travelers want to see the world. They are no longer content with staying in one place. Whether it’s visiting the far corners of the earth on a world cruise, hiking through remote Machu Picchu or tasting local cuisines through cooking schools, travelers want unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”

The top 10 dream destinations also reflected readers’ longing to visit far-off lands, with Australia, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and Greece nabbing the first five spots. Paris held onto its reign as the most romantic city to spend time with a loved one, as well as the best gourmet city. Rome remains the city with the most beautiful architecture, and Tuscany continues to be the wine region travelers want to toast the most. Again this year, readers felt going on a safari to Africa would merit the best outdoor adventure.

The Travel Dreams results largely supported Virtuoso’s 2010 Luxe Report, insight gleaned from the network’s elite travel advisors, which revealed that travelers in 2010 are booking longer vacations to more distant destinations. Of the travel professionals that participated in the Luxe Report survey, 71 percent reported that clients are seeking international travel for 10 days or more.

This year, readers had extra enticement to share their opinions: an opportunity to win their own dream trip!  Three lucky winners got to choose one of these trips: a ten-day exploration of the Galápagos Islands aboard Lindblad Expedi­tions’ National Geographic Endeavour; a 12-day cruise aboard the Seabourn Pride from Bangkok to Shanghai; or a trip to South Af­rica on Virgin Atlantic Airways to spend five nights at the One&Only Cape Town.

VIRTUOSO LIFE’s Travel Dreams survey was designed to gather consumer travel trends and offer inspiration for future journeys. The 12-question survey explored readers’ opinions about everything from their dream destinations and the best cities for dining to the best destinations for romance and families.  Top-line results can be found below, and the results are featured in the July/August issue of VIRTUOSO LIFE.

The survey results were tallied from responses from almost 11,000 VIRTUOSO LIFE readers who participated in the Travel Dreams Sweepstakes. Virtuoso promoted the sweepstakes via email and within the magazine.

To view a digital edition of the VIRTUOSO LIFE July/August “Readers’ Choice Travel Dreams” issue, click here.