Top 10 Luxury Travel Destinations for 2013 From Travel Leaders

river cruiseFour of the top five international destinations for luxury travelers are in Europe, led by European river cruises, Travel Leaders Group reports in its list of the top luxury travel trends for 2013. The ranking is based on findings from its annual Travel Trends Survey

The only non-European luxury travel destination in the top five is Australia – which also ranks as  the ultimate “dream” destination for travelers if money were no obstacle. The survey also shows that over 86 percent of those polled stated that their luxury travel bookings are higher than or equal to their luxury travel bookings at that same time one year ago. 

Conducted November 19 - December 16, 2012, the luxury travel trends are based on responses from 567 Travel Leaders Group owners, managers and frontline travel experts throughout the United States who identified themselves as selling luxury travel. 

“Luxury and experiential travel are definitely strong segments for the industry right now. While you can look around and find numerous articles touting far-flung destinations as top spots for high-end travel, those lists appear to be aspirational rather than based in the reality of actual bookings,” stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben

 “Our top luxury travel destinations are based on actual booking data.  It’s no wonder river cruise companies are expanding their offerings and adding more and more new ships.  ‘If you build it, they will come’ has never more true than right now for luxury river cruising, particularly in Europe,"  Liben said.

Top International Destinations for Luxury Travelers in 2013:

1 CRUISE – Europe (River) 35.9%

2 CRUISE – Europe(Mediterranean) 33.1%

3 Italy 31.2%

4 Australia 18.5%

5 France 11.8%

6 Costa Rica 9.5%

7 CRUISE – Europe (Baltic) 8.1%

8 Bora Bora 7.0%

9 St. Lucia 6.5%

10 England 6.3%

Nearly 93 percent of Travel Leaders Group’s luxury travel agents report their Europe river cruise bookings are higher than or equal to last year at this time. The group also reported that over 80 percent of the agents who book luxury travel said that their Mediterranean cruise bookings are higher than or equal to last year at this time.

Luxury Travel Bookings in 2013: When Travel Leaders Group agents were asked to compare their overall 2013 Luxury Travel bookings so far to their luxury travel bookings at this time last year, over 86 percent of those surveyed say bookings are higher than or equal to 2012 (41.5% say “higher” while 44.6% say “even”).

If Money Were No Object: When all Travel Leaders Group owners, managers and agents who completed the survey (1,045) were asked to identify their clients’ Top International Dream Destinations, if money were no object for the travelers, the following topped the list. (Agents were allowed to choose up to three destinations.)

1 Australia 46.58%

2 Bora Bora 25.92%

3 CRUISE – World 20.26%

4 Tahiti 16.84%

5 Italy 16.58%

6 CRUISE – Europe (River) 13.82%

7 South Africa 13.55%

8 United Arab Emirates 12.63%

9 CRUISE – Europe(Mediterranean) 12.50%

10 Fiji 10.53%

11 New Zealand 9.87%

12 Antarctica 9.47%

13 Ecuador – Galapagos Islands 6.05%

14 China 5.26%

These luxury trends are part of a comprehensive travel trends survey which included responses from 1,045 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 Luxury Travel Network, Nexion, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and units.