Friday Briefing: Cuba, Multigen Top Virtuoso’s Luxe Report, Airbnb’s New Trips

Town hall of Santiago de Cuba
Photo by Robert paul Van beets/Hemera/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

The 2017 Virtuoso Luxe Report and some new competition from Airbnb are the top travel headlines to watch today. 

2017 Virtuoso Luxe Report

Virtuoso has released its 2017 Virtuoso Luxe Report, which forecasts the top luxury travel trends and destinations for the coming year. 

This year the report finds interest in destinations with a “sense of urgency,” Virtuoso’s term for places that are changing rapidly or disappearing. These include Cuba, the melting glaciers of the Arctic, and Lanai in Hawaii, which is set to grow in popularity soon. Adventure travel also continues to be a dominant trend, including African safaris, swimming with whale sharks in Mexico or Australia or hiking the Swiss Alps. Other top trends include exclusive experiences, like personal guides or private jets, cooking classes and local market visits for foodies, and cruise travel. 

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In terms of top luxury destinations, Cuba is at the head of the list, as well as the polar regions of Antarctica and the Arctic due to the threat of global warming. Other rapidly changing destinations travelers expressed interest in include Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, which is losing its coral due to pollution, and Venice

Virtuoso also reported more requests for business and first class air travel, as well as nonstop flights. A total of 772 advisors from Virtuoso's travel agency partners in North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and the Middle East were surveyed.

Airbnb’s New Trips

In terms of keeping an eye on the competition, Airbnb is moving beyond accommodations with the launch of Trips

Billed as a “people-powered platform,” Trips aims to connect travelers with locals in three areas: Experiences, Places and Homes. Experiences on offer include local activities like a Samurai Swordplay workshop or the chance to drive classic cars in Malibu, or chances to give back to local communities, like a behind-the-scenes program at the Downtime Boxing Gym in Detroit. Places will incorporate the recommendations of Airbnb hosts into Insider Guidebooks spotlighting top areas to check out in a given destination, while Homes will house Airbnb’s vacation rental accommodations. 

At launch 500 Experiences are available in 12 cities worldwide, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Detroit, Havana, London, Paris, Florence, Nairobi, Cape Town, Tokyo and Seoul, with the option for Airbnb hosts in an additional 39 cities to request to list their Experiences. 100 Insider Guidebooks are available at launch in six cities — Los Angeles, San Francisco, Havana, Nairobi, Detroit and Seoul - with more planned to launch soon.

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