Summer travel is on the rise, according to a new report by American Express Travel, especially internationally.
“Our data is showing a 26 percent increase in international travel this summer and while iconic destinations such as Paris and Rome remain favorites, our travelers’ curiosity is prompting discovery of off-the-beaten path global destinations,” said Claire Bennett, EVP and GM of American Express Travel, in a written release.
“From the Maldives –which is showing an outstanding 117 percent increase in summer bookings – to Costa Smeralda, Marrakech and Zagreb, travelers are increasingly drawn to this idea of luxury escapism and seeking ways to disconnect – not from technology or creature comforts – but from the everyday chaos,” said Bennett.
American Express’ list of hot summer destinations includes:
- Maldives (117%) - Boasting dreamy private isles in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives have been a hot spot for celebrities and affluent clientele alike over the last year, known for their secluded beaches, blue, lagoons and cascading coral reefs.
- Bilbao (114%) - A port city in northern Spain, that was once surrounded by industrial architecture and wastelands was revitalized in 1997 with introduction of the famed Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; which sparked revitalization and now houses prominent modern and contemporary art works, ultimately transforming Bilbao to an soulful, European art and culture center.
- Ho Chi Minh City (97%) - A Vietnamese city driving the country forward with pulsating energy and discovery – here travelers can wander through timeless alleys to incense-infused temples before negotiating chic designer malls beneath sleek 21st-century skyscrapers.
- Costa Smeralda (90%) - Where rugged landscapes meet pampered living, this coastal Sardinian paradise vaunts luxury villas and yachts and attracts celebrities and elite from around the world, especially over the summer months.
- Zagreb (89%) - Croatia’s northwestern capital distinguished by it’s 18th and 19th century Austro-Hungarian architecture, lined with charming cafes, colorful shops and museums.
- Marrakech (77%) - Pastel-washed derbs, souqs full of Moroccan spices and artisan crafts, this Morroccan city will transport travelers to a different era as they take in history, art, culture and Islamic architecture.
- Ixtapa (69%) - Nothing more than a coconut plantation until the late 1970s, this pacific coast beach resort is full of fishing boats that decorate the crystal waters and is home to the granite rocks of Los Morros de Potosí, a popular dive site.
- Mumbai (69%) - Formerly Bombay, this city is home to India’s most prolific film industry, a fashion epicenter and the largest tropical forest in an urban zone; it’s a city full of energy and contains some of the grandest architecture on the planet, including hidden bazaars, temples and hipster enclaves.
- Glasgow (69%) - A port city along the River Clyde in Scotland's western Lowlands celebrated for its Victorian and art nouveau architecture, serving as a cultural hub famed for the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and National Theatre of Scotland, as well as acclaimed museums and a thriving music scene.
- Israel (56%) - Located on the Mediterranean Sea, this sacred destination is recognized for its complex shrines, the historic Western Wall, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and beaches of Tel Aviv.