summer destinations: Irish cottage with red door and pink hydrangea in foreground
European countries like Ireland dominated the Top 10 list of summer destinations

As summer approaches, upscale travelers turn their thoughts to one continent: Europe. That’s what a new analysis of Virtuoso client booking data has revealed. Eight European countries made the Virtuoso Top 10 list of this year’s most popular summer destinations.

But when you look at the fastest-growing summer destinations, some surprising places emerge. True, Europe is prominent on the Virtuoso Hot 10 list. It’s summer, after all. But countries in other locales have picked up steam with luxury travelers compared to last year.

The Virtuoso Top 10 Summer Destinations

The most popular international summer destinations based on bookings by Virtuoso clients for June to August.

  1. Italy
  2. United Kingdom
  3. France
  4. Spain
  5. Netherlands
  6. Ireland
  7. Germany
  8. South Africa
  9. Greece
  10. Israel

Every year, Europe dominates the list of favored summer destinations. Interestingly, though, Virtuoso’s overall sales to the continent are flat when compared to summer 2015. In particular, France has rebounded nicely. Led by travel to Paris, the country remains strong.

Two European countries in particular are seeking spikes in popularity. Bookings to the Netherlands are up 38 percent this summer over last. That might be due to its lower average daily rate for Virtuoso hotels. In the Netherlands, you’ll pay 44 percent less than the European ADR of $793 a night.

Ireland is experiencing a 58 percent jump in bookings. Hotel rooms here are a relative bargain as well. Its ADR is 31 percent lower than the European average. Travelers visiting Ireland are flocking to Dublin and Galway in particular. They’re also heading to county Laois in the center of the country.

summer destinations: male lion in tanzania
Tanzania has experienced a huge 98 percent growth in bookings this summer over last

The Virtuoso Hot 10 Summer Destinations

The international summer destinations that have seen the largest percentage of growth in year-over-year bookings.

  1. Tanzania (up 98%)
  2. Portugal (up 88%)
  3. Ireland (up 58%)
  4. Brazil (up 53%)
  5. Mexico (up 48%)
  6. Russia (up 44%)
  7. Netherlands (up 38%)
  8. Jamaica (up 28%)
  9. Sweden (up 23%)
  10. Poland (up 18%)

Travel to Africa is trending. The continent has seen a 15 percent increase in bookings from last summer. Tanzania is experiencing a huge jump, as travelers seek out its incredible scenery and diversity of wildlife. South Africa is also up from 2015. Together the two countries represent 80 percent of Virtuoso travel to Africa.

Portugal bookings are also up significantly. Travel to the Azores is especially hot. The country’s hotel ADR is also favorable for travelers right now. It’s 58 percent lower than the European average.

Of the European countries, Portugal is showing the strongest growth year over year. But Ireland, Russia, the Netherlands, Sweden and Poland also rate slots on the Hot 10.

The Western Hemisphere takes three slots on the list of hottest summer destinations. Brazil is seeing a big boost due to the Summer Olympics August 5-21. It’s surprising to see Mexico and Jamaica on summer destination lists, as they’re typical winter travel hot spots. The countries are showing year-round appeal with inexpensive direct flights from the U.S. as well as reasonable hotel rates.

Where are you heading for your summer destination?

Which of these is on your summer destination list?  And how are you going to make your travel idea become a reality?

If you’re not already working with a travel advisor, you should be. They have firsthand knowledge of destinations, can secure you incredible perks and even arrange for VIP treatment wherever you go.

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