Virtuoso Releases 2017 Luxe Report

The report shows that travelers are seeking adventures in less-explored destinations By: Michelle Juergen
An African safari is a top pick, according to  Virtuoso’s new report. // © 2016 iStock
An African safari is a top pick, according to  Virtuoso’s new report. // © 2016 iStock

The Details

Virtuoso has issued its “2017 Virtuoso Luxe Report,” which forecasts emerging travel developments and top destinations for the next year. According to the report, luxury travelers are looking for adventures in less-explored and fast-changing destinations, as well as seeking customized local experiences.

Why It Matters:
Upscale clients are searching for novel places to roam, and now is the time to send them to destinations that are rapidly changing or disappearing, such as Cuba, Antarctica and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, which all made the list for Top Endangered/Changing Destinations. Active travel grows ever more popular, landing at No. 2 in Top Travel Trends, and Virtuoso’s advisors recommend adventures such as an African safari, swimming with whale sharks or hiking the Swiss Alps. Agents can prove their merit to well-traveled clients in 2017 by studying up on exotic hot spots and activities that will satisfy adventurous tastes.

Fast Facts:
- The top travel trends (in order of rank) include multigenerational travel, active or adventure trips, river cruising, travel with immediate family and celebration travel.

- The top emerging destinations include Cuba, Iceland, Croatia, South Africa and Japan.

- The top adventure destinations include South Africa, the Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica, New Zealand and Peru/Iceland (tied).

- The top endangered/changing destinations include Cuba; the Antarctic; the Great Barrier Reef; Venice, Italy; and the Arctic.

- The top global destinations include Italy, South Africa, France, Iceland and Australia.

- The top U.S. destinations include New York City; Maui; Napa Valley/Sonoma, Calif.; Las Vegas; and Miami/South Beach, Fla.

- The top family destinations include Italy; Mexico; Hawaii; Orlando, Fla.; and England.

- The top honeymoon destinations include Italy, Maui, French Polynesia, the Maldives and Mexico.

- The top cruise itineraries include the Mediterranean, Alaska, European river, the Caribbean and the Greek Isles.

- The top travel motivations include exploring new destinations, seeking authentic experiences, rest and relaxation, personal enrichment and seeking adventure.

- The report shows that upscale travel is thriving: Trips are selling out earlier than in past years, and many travelers are booking farther in advance — even one to two years early for larger trips. Virtuoso also report receiving more requests for business and first-class air travel and nonstop flights.

What They Are Saying:
According to Virtuoso’s release, the organization recommends the following in 2017:

1. “Head now for destinations with a sense of urgency: ones that are changing rapidly or even disappearing. Cuba tops the list as both an emerging destination and one in danger of losing its distinctive character. The Arctic is another must-see, with melting glaciers impacting the region’s unique wildlife. Closer to home, now is the time to visit Lanai before it gains more popularity.”

2. “Seek out active journeys, as adventure travel soars even higher this year as a dominant trend. Virtuoso’s advisors recommend a variety of adventures, including an African safari, swimming with whale sharks in Mexico or Australia or hiking the Swiss Alps.”

3. "Splurge on an over-the-top exclusive experience: Hire a personal guide for a city tour or board a private jet for an unforgettable round-the-world journey. Exclusive-use travel is a key trend for 2017, whether it is renting a villa in a prime destination such as St. Barts or even a private island, or chartering a yacht for a Croatian sail.”

4. “Savor the flavors and eat like a local wherever you roam. Take a cooking class, peruse the markets, hunt for truffles, dine at a world-class restaurant or opt for a private, in-home dining experience.”

5. “Take a cruise that matches your preferences and personality. Virtuoso advisors recommend cruising for its convenience, value and range of options. River cruising offers greater cultural immersion and the opportunity to explore the heart of a destination. Expedition cruising continues to gain popularity for its nature-focused and more intimate, experiential itineraries to remote destinations.”

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