European vacations are popular among affluent travelers. // © 2017 iStock
The top luxury trend for 2017 outside of North America is the European river cruise, according to a survey of Travel Leaders Group luxury travel experts. The survey determines that European vacations are as hot as ever among affluent travelers, with top bookings in Italy, the Mediterranean via cruise, France, England, the Baltic via cruise and Ireland. Additionally, more than 81 percent of agents surveyed say that bookings for 2017 are higher than, or on par with, bookings in 2016.
Why It Matters:
Despite a tumultuous year in the region, Europe remains a strong destination among upscale clients booking with Travel Leaders advisors. And while the lasting popularity may not be too surprising, the fact that bookings are higher this year than last year is worth considering. Ninan Chacko, CEO of Travel Leaders Group, attributes the growth to the strong U.S. dollar, suggesting that clients are both resilient and strongly motived by perceived good deals.
- In addition to European destinations, Australia is also a top-five luxury destination.
- Bora Bora, Australia and New Zealand via cruise, United Arab Emirates, Spain, Iceland, South Africa, Cuba and Turks & Caicos are also among the top 15 destinations.
- The top five luxury travel destinations in North America are the Caribbean via cruise, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Costa Rica.
What They Are Saying:
“As we take a closer look at what the majority of our affluent travelers are planning for this year, it’s hardly a surprise that European vacation options – be they land, river or deep water cruises – are as popular as ever. In fact, it is quite gratifying to see these destinations regain momentum after a challenging year,” said Ninan Chacko , CEO of Travel Leaders Group. “Further buoyed by a stronger dollar, our clients are seeking out destinations like Italy, France and European river cruises with the added expertise our luxury agents provide in designing unique travel experiences. That is certainly one reason why our bookings for various segments of the luxury travel industry are higher than or on par with last year for more than 80% of our survey participants.”