Looking for a great spot for your holiday travel this winter, or even next spring break? Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew Upchurch shared some advice with CNBC viewers: book now.

Why Book Holiday Travel Now?

“Global tourism is on a rampage,” Upchurch said in a Sept. 12 appearance on the cable network’s Squawk Box program. He recommended booking holiday travel six to eight months in advance – even a year out if possible. Those who delay, says Upchurch, risk disappointment in not getting the hotels or flights they want: “It’s just availability at the best places at the right times.”

Hot holiday travel destinations: Orlando
Bookings for Orlando, Florida are up an impressive 87% from last year

Holiday Travel Destinations: United States

Upchurch also discussed the hottest destinations for upcoming holiday travel in the CNBC appearance. The destinations were determined from year-over-year comparisons of Virtuoso travel agency sales figures.

The top US domestic travel destinations are:
• Orlando, Florida – up 87%
• Colorado – up 72%
• South Florida – up 13%

Hawaii is also trending strongly for holiday travel.

Holiday Travel Destinations: World

Where are Virtuoso’s American clients venturing outside their home country for holiday travel?
• 42% Mexico
• 14% Europe
• 12% Canada
• 12% Caribbean
• 12% other
• 8% Asia

Hot holiday travel destinations: Mexico
Mexico is the top international destination for U.S. travelers, with more five-star hotels than the entire Caribbean

“They’re focusing on the big trips, the things they really want to do, their dream trips,” commented Upchurch.

The hottest international destinations to consider for your holiday travel are:
• Mexico – up 15%. An interesting fact for luxury travelers: the country has more five-star hotels than the entire Caribbean. “The best value right now is Mexico,” declared Upchurch. “The rebound in Mexico tourism has been unbelievable.” He estimated that a five-day vacation at a five-star property for two people would be about $4,000. The average Virtuoso trip is about $8,000 per person.
• New Zealand – up 400%. “New Zealand used to be the add-on to Australia and now it’s huge,” Upchurch observed, noting that the destination is still benefiting from the “Lord of the Rings” effect (the trilogy of movies was shot in New Zealand as a stand-in for Middle Earth). “New Zealand has it all. It’s a great family destination, it’s great for adventure travel, food and wine, the lodges that are there are incredible. It’s the whole package.”

Hot holiday travel destinations: New Zealand
Travel to New Zealand is up an enormous 400%, partly due to the “Lord of the Rings” effect

• United Arab Emirates – up 336%. Said Upchurch, “UAE is big. I think part of the reason UAE is is not only the inventory on the ground but the air service there. It’s becoming really one of the go-to places.” To match the consumer demand, the number of new hotels under construction has grown significantly.

Two other international destinations exhibiting impressive growth in bookings are Australia (up 90%) and South Africa (“very hot and has been for quite some time,” according to Upchurch).

Start planning your holiday travel today with the help of a Virtuoso travel advisor. If you don’t have a specific destination yet, an advisor can help you settle on one that’s right for you. If you do have a place in mind, find a specialist in that destination by searching at www.virtuoso.com.


One comment

  1. Isn’t it amazing that only a couple of years ago we had no money following the banking crisis. Now look at us and look at how the passenger numbers are flying high!

Comments are closed.