Travel advisors are alive, well and even thriving. And the proof is the growth in luxury travel spending.

Virtuoso is projecting a 15% increase in revenues this year on top of the luxury travel network’s annual $12.5 billion in sales. Those sales are by Virtuoso’s 8,900 travel advisors at 340 agencies in 20 countries around the world.

Clearly people are turning to travel advisors for the expertise, value and convenience they provide. Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew Upchurch explained the value of a travel advisor to viewers of Bloomberg News’ Market Makers program July 10. “Why would you have a wealth advisor in your life to have a conscious strategy over managing your financial assets but not have somebody that you collaborate with to help you have a conscious strategy on managing your most valuable non-renewable asset – your free leisure time?”

Upchurch explained that during the recent financial crisis, Virtuoso examined what it does and better defined how its travel advisors make a difference in people’s lives. “We always say it’s not the value of the trip, it’s whether they value the advisor,” he commented.

Travel advisors are selling lots of river cruises
River cruising is hot: Virtuoso sales of the experience are up 9%

Upchurch also discussed the summer’s hottest travel trends and destinations. Top of his list: river cruising. “River cruising is really hot,” he said. “There are so many different varieties of it. There’s small Amazon ships, there’s the Irrawaddy in Myanmar, there’s all these amazing things.” Virtuoso sales of river cruising are up 9%, and ocean cruising sales are up 4%.

Multigenerational travel is another huge trend of note. Upchurch explained its value: “Basically today what we’re finding is both the boomer parents and the grandparents are basically taking their kids on vacations not only for the bonding or the relaxation but really to give their kids a leg up, wanting them to be global citizens.”

The Bloomberg News appearance was Upchurch’s second live interview of the day. Earlier he appeared on CNBC to discuss how baby boomers are prioritizing travel, and what types of trips they’re taking.

If you want to discover the value that a travel advisor can bring to your next vacation, check out the catalog of travel specialists at