Where are All the Rich People Going?

We have the answers! The Virtuoso Luxe Report recognized throughout the industry as an authoritative trend-predictor. The report forecasts luxury travel trends for 2014 based on current and anticipated reservations. So it’s based on cash and revenue is always a good predictor! From the most popular destinations to what motivates travelers today, the Virtuoso Luxe Report offers insight to the patterns and decisions of the world’s wealthiest travelers. And we thought the result would be of interest to our Going Global Community since understanding where affluent travelers are headed will help you make your own travel plans.

The biggest change in the findings from the 2013 to 2014 report is the new entrants as “emerging destinations.”  While Cuba remains the tourism destination most on the rise, the Galapagos Islands’ popularity is escalating once again, while Iceland and Belize cracked the “top 10.”

Italy continues its reign as the top destination for international travel in 2014, followed by South Africa, France and Australia. This year New Zealand makes an appearance on the list as well. Italy remained the chart-topper for families traveling in 2014, with England, Hawaii, Costa Rica and Mexico rounding out the list.

Within the U.S. travel market, New York reclaims the top spot, followed by Maui. Napa Valley/Sonoma was bumped to third place from a first place ranking in 2013. Las Vegas took fourth place and for the first time, Hawaii’s Big Island joins the list.

As in past reports, the motivation behind high-end travel continues to be seeking authentic experiences, rest and relaxation and spending time or reconnecting with loved ones. Re-discovering previously visited destinations and exploring new destinations were new additions to the list this year.

The most popular honeymoon destination is a new category added this year. Italy, French Polynesia, Maui, the Maldives and St. Lucia topped the list. Not surprisingly, the list mirrored the most popular destinations for romantic travel, which continue to be Italy, French PolynesiaBali and France. This year the Maldives joined the list of exotic locations.

The 2014 Luxe Report also found that the rise in longer trips (eight days and longer) to international destinations held steady from 2013, and suggests that when necessary, travelers are willing to book lower room categories in order to stay in nicer hotels. Travel advisors still continue to be the lead influencer in determining their clients’ travel decisions, followed by recommendations from friends and family.  Business Class is still the preferred way to fly, with Economy Plus continuing to gain popularity as more airlines introduce and expand this on-board product.

Key findings from the 2014 Virtuoso Luxe Report are outlined below:

The five most popular emerging destinations:

1.         Cuba
2.         Myanmar/Burma
3.         Vietnam
4.         Galapagos Island
5.         Bhutan

The five most popular international destinations:

1.         Italy
2.         South Africa
3.         France
4.         Australia
5.         New Zealand

The five top reasons people will travel:

1.         Exploring new destinations
2.         Rest and relaxation
3.         Seeking authentic experiences in new destinations
4.         Re-discovering previously visited destinations
5.         Personal enrichment