The summer travel season is almost here, and with it Virtuoso's annual list of the most popular and the most up-and-coming destinations. The organization based its analysis on its data warehouse of $49.5 billion in luxury travel bookings. European countries continue to be most popular, Virtuoso said, while the fastest-growing locales point to a desire for culturally immersive experiences.
The Virtuoso Top 10 (the most popular destinations for the summer of 2019 according to bookings):
- United States
- United Kingdom
- South Africa
The Top 10 Analysis: Domestic remains as popular as ever with the U.S. taking the No. 1 spot. The scenery and diversity of national parks appeal to families and adventurers alike, Virtuoso notes. Europe—always a favorite—claims eight spots in the Top 10. History, culture, cuisine and abundant luxury offerings make Europe a preferred option for upscale travelers. Notably, Spain moves up three places from last summer, as it offers better value compared to other spots in Western Europe. South Africa’s winter season offers excellent viewing conditions for safaris, as well as whale watching opportunities.
The Virtuoso Hot 10 (the countries that have experienced the largest year-over-year percentage increases in summer bookings):
- Chile (+410 percent)
- India (+173 percent)
- Puerto Rico (+149 percent)
- Philippines (+129 percent)
- Belgium (+111 percent)
- Kenya (+89 percent)
- Egypt (+76 percent)
- Singapore (+73 percent)
- Costa Rica (+67 percent)
- Dominican Republic (+58 percent)
The Hot 10 Analysis: Following a trend first spotted in spring 2019, Chile continues its upswing in popularity by offering a variety of terrain from the Atacama Desert and the Lake District to the Andes Mountains and wine valleys. India and the Philippines are among the more exotic destinations luring visitors with their ability to deliver on the authenticity desired by luxury travelers. Kenya offers outstanding safari opportunities, including the wildebeest migration in the Maasai Mara, as well as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and beaches. Travelers looking for sun and sand are escaping to Caribbean destinations, such as Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Pop culture tourism is fueling interest in Singapore, the setting for the hit film “Crazy Rich Asians.”
Data is sourced from Virtuoso’s U.S. travel agency members and includes travel for June, July and August 2019.
This story originally appeared on www.luxurytraveladvisor.com.