Virtuoso Reveals What’s Next in Luxury Travel

Virtuoso has analyzed information from its warehouse exceeding $63.6 billion in transactions to reveal the most popular destinations for spring travel based on future bookings.

What the luxury travel agency network learned: While some travelers are choosing to stay close to home, others are voyaging to longtime favorites in Europe ahead of the summer crowds. Those opting for sun are planning trips to international warm-weather destinations such as the Bahamas and Mexico. And, following a border closure that exceeded two years, it is no surprise to see Japan make its mark in the list. The network additionally found that tourist spots are packed, restaurant reservations at some of the country’s top restaurants are hard to come by, and hotel availability is scarce through the fall.

The top 10 destinations for spring travel are:

  1. United States
  2. Italy
  3. France
  4. Mexico
  5. Spain
  6. Bahamas
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Japan
  9. Canada
  10. Portugal

Yachts Are the New Boutique Hotels

Exclusivity and privacy are key values for travelers aiming to get away from it all, which is driving the demand for yachting experiences. With overall interest on the rise, traditional cruise and expedition lines are entering the market, too. Private yachting is witnessing a surge in demand in the Caribbean, Croatia, Greece and Saint-Tropez, according to Virtuoso and the Excellence Group. Hotel brands are also taking note. From yachts to luxury barges, hotels around the world have begun and are planning their own branded on-the-water luxury experiences, including The Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Aman and Belmond, to name a few.

Hotel companies with a loyal following are well positioned to extend their brand to the sea, Virtuoso says. Many of these yacht guests are “new to cruise,” therefore introducing a new experience to high net worth travelers that might not have considered a seafaring vacation in the past. For hotel companies, it is also a way to continue building brand loyalty and to explore new destinations in a more efficient way, with one vessel able to reach multiple countries in a single itinerary.

Secret Vacation Spots to Visit Next

Virtuoso travel advisors also revealed the new destinations travelers are heading next. They are:

Todos Santos, Mexico – Just north of Cabo San Lucas lies an enclave for artists and surfers, offering 350 days of sunshine a year. Zach Rabinor, founder and CEO of Journey Mexico, describes the spot as “a magnet for those wishing to escape the crowds; it’s an enchanting town with a slower, more community-centered place.”

Maremma, Italy – Tucked away on Tuscany’s southern end, where soft sands are framed by pine groves, visitors will discover a corner of Italy only locals know. “The proximity of the countryside and sea creates plenty of opportunities for a truly immersive Italian experience,” says Simone Amorico, co-owner of Access Italy. It’s also an alternative to Sicily following its surge in interest in part to the “'White Lotus' effect.”

Namibia, Southern Africa – The contrasting landscapes of Namibia are epic; the deep orange sand dunes that climb 1,000 feet in height, petrified forests that rise from the middle of the desert and a coastline that appears like a mirage. Eleanor Flagler Hardy, Virtuoso agency executive says, “Its beauty is completely different than East Africa’s—a real sense of timelessness suffuses the whole region—the vastness is completely otherworldly.”

Tohoku, Japan – The region is home to unspoiled rural landscapes and historical treasures. There are no dazzling neon-lit arcades or bustling food markets. During the winter months, there’s endless powder snow—anywhere from 300 to 600 inches annually. “The hustle and bustle of modern Japan is a must-see for first-timers, but in Tohoku, travelers can relax and take in the traditions and nature of old Japan,” says Reeka Ninomiya, a Virtuoso advisor.

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