Ovation Travel Group has revealed its luxury leisure clientele’s most favored destinations outside of the United States for the remainder of 2019 and 2020. Atop the list? Italy. Ovation says it’s “the hands-down favorite,” with other destinations in Europe—including France, the United Kingdom and Spain—also among the most popular destinations. Select markets in Africa and Asia, as well as Barbados, are also seeing increased demand.
Italy: No. 1 International Destination
Ovation advisors weighed in on why Italy reigns supreme among their clientele:
“Italy is always reliable with its excellent food, storied hotels and amazing people,” says Sylvia Lebovitch, an advisor based in New York.
“The reason why Italy is the most popular international destination begins with direct flights offered from New York, making it especially convenient,” says New York-based advisor Ashley Diamond. “But Italy really appeals to my clients because of their access to amazing food and wine, history, art, culture, luxury accommodations and more.”
Echoing that sentiment was Deborah Gellis, who's located in New York: “The culture, epicurean delights and diversity of things to do—along with its relative safety—continue to have my clients clamoring for Italy.”
Paul Metselaar, CEO and Chairman of Ovation Travel Group, adds that, specifically, southern Italy is seeing an increase in travel “as a substantial cross-section of our clients have experienced and even exhausted some of the major sights in Italy’s north.”
Europe’s Other Most Popular Destinations
Avignon, France // Photo by Photoprofi30/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images
France, the United Kingdom and Spain are among Ovation’s other most-requested European destinations going into 2020. Here’s what advisors are saying:
“France is always a favorite from a luxury perspective thanks to its stunning scenery and attractions coupled with exquisite wine and food options, along with legendary hotels,” says Gina Gabbard, senior vice president of leisure and independent advisors. “In the United Kingdom, bookings are holding their own despite Brexit. In fact, the added benefit to our clients is the strong value of the U.S. dollar against British sterling.”
Regarding Spain’s popularity, New York-based Harlee Rosenberg says, “Spain is simply an extraordinary country offering lots to see and do. Plus, Spain is still one of the European countries that is not outrageously priced.”
Closer to Home
Bridgetown, Barbados // Photo by Shutterstock/NAPA
One noteworthy destination closer to the United States that has enjoyed higher demand among Ovation clients is the Caribbean island of Barbados.
“Barbados has entered the all-inclusive market, which has contributed to its demand,” says Wayne Davis, a New York-based travel advisor. “Another contributor has been the negative headlines out of Dominican Republic.”
Overall, Ovation Travel Group has experienced a 20 percent year-over-year increase in bookings across the various travel segments, Metselaar says, adding that luxury leisure bookings are up 40 percent year-over-year.