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Top Destinations to Watch From Virtuoso, Travel Leaders Group

September 1, 2016

Iceland was named a top adventure travel destination in a recent Virtuoso poll. // Photo by RobertHoetink/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images


Wondering what’s trending this fall and beyond? Virtuoso and Travel Leaders Group released a pair of studies this week pointing to some key trends. 

Travel Leaders: “Brexit” Boosts London Travel

For the first time ever, London leads Travel Leaders Group’s Fall Travel Survey in terms of international destinations, a milestone Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko credits to the continued strong dollar against the pound following this summer’s vote for the UK to leave the European Union — the “Brexit,” as the Internet has been calling it. 

Also trending: Maui, Hawaii, has attained its first top ranking for U.S. destinations in the survey, up from #3 last year, followed by Orlando, New York City, Las Vegas, and Alaska cruises. 

The survey was conducted by Travel Leaders Group from July 28 - August 24, 2016, and includes responses from 1,145 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers, and frontline travel agents from the flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group’s Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and units.

Here’s a look at the rest of the data:

Top Domestic Fall Destinations

Rank Destination Percentage 2015 Rank
1 Maui, HI 34.1% 3
2 Orlando, FL 32.4% 2
3 New York City, NY 30.5% 1
4 Las Vegas, NV 28.0% 4
5 Cruise - Alaska 25.5% 5
6 Los Angeles, CA 19.6% 6
7 Honolulu, HI 18.8% 8
8 San Francisco, CA 17.2% 7
9 Chicago, IL 14.2% 9
10 Washington, DC 12.4% 10

Top International Fall Destinations

Rank Destination Percentage 2015 Rank
1 London, England 31.0% 3
2 Cruise - Caribbean 30.1% 1
3 Cancun, Mexico 29.1% 2
4 Rome, Italy 23.2% 5
5 Paris, France 17.7% 6
6 (tie) Cruise - Europe (River) 17.5% 4
6 (tie) Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 17.5% 8
8 Cruise - Europe (Mediterranean) 13.6% 7
9 Montego Bay, Jamaica 10.8% 10
10 Florence and/or Tuscany, Italy 10.0% 9

Overall, 79 percent of agents indicated that bookings are higher or on par with this time last year. Europe also continues to be strong in spite of recent terrorist attacks: 74.8 percent of travel agents said that their bookings to Europe were at the same level or higher than last year. 

From a new adventure travel poll by Virtuoso to the latest air travel, hotel and cruise updates, here are the five headlines to watch this morning. 

Virtuoso Names Iceland Top Adventure Travel Destination

Iceland remains a red-hot (and weirdly relaxing to watch) travel destination according to a new poll by Virtuoso. A survey of advisors and preferred partners taking part in the Virtuoso Active and Specialty Travel (VAST) program shows 95 percent of respondents forecasting increased demand for adventure travel over the next two to three years, with Iceland leading the way in terms of destinations gaining in popularity. Rounding out the list: 

1. Iceland                                                           
2. Galapagos/Ecuador                                       
3. Costa Rica and Chile/Patagonia (tie)             
4. New Zealand                                                  
5. Peru                                                                
6. Cuba
7. Antarctica
8. Arctic/North Pole
9. South Africa
10. Australia

More relevant stats: the biggest age group for adventure travel is between 50 and 65 (41 percent), with 24 percent between 35 and 50, 21 percent 65 and over and 14 percent under 35. The most common type of adventure traveler is couples, including honeymooners, followed by immediate families, friends traveling together, solo travelers and multigenerational family members.

Why go with adventure travel? Survey respondents pointed to communing with nature, checking experiences off a bucket list, spending quality time together on family and multigenerational trips, and the ability of today's older travelers to be more active due to improved longevity and health as factors driving the category’s popularity. 

The survey, conducted between February and April 2016, canvassed 125 advisors in the VAST program.  

Keep visiting for the latest travel industry news, trends and research. 

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