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In this issue’s cover story, “Deep South” (page 14), we report on South Australia, a destination that is probably “down under” the radar for many travelers — as well as some travel advisors. As the story points out, one of the reasons this region is growing in popularity is because it hits on a number of major trends, including luxury, adventure, culinary and nature travel. Any destination that can combine so many potential areas of interest is valuable to agents because it enables them to entice different types of clients.
Like many of you, we try to keep a close eye on travel trends, so it was especially interesting to note that at Virtuoso Travel Week, which took place earlier this month, there was a new travel program built around four of the most important aspects of travel. Called Virtuoso Community Globetrotting, the event was an all-day, world’s fair-style expo with nine pavilions that focused on adventure, wellness, cruising and family travel. During the event, advisors heard about the latest developments on these travel types from more than 135 Virtuoso preferred partners.
“The foundation of communities is simple: to bring together people who want to build on their passions,” said Matthew D. Upchurch, chairman and CEO of Virtuoso. “This year, travel advisors and preferred partners who share a deep affinity for adventure, wellness, cruise and family travel were building relationships, growing expertise and sharpening strategies at our Community Globetrotting event.”
While some of these trends are not new to agents, the idea of approaching trip planning through a client’s passions is important. Today’s travelers are not solely interested in lying on a beach; they are looking to spend their precious leisure time increasing their knowledge, their skills, their relationships and their life experiences. A successful agent needs to understand these passions and goals, and build travel itineraries that include more than just a nice room at a five-star resort in a pretty location.
Fortunately, agents are not alone. There are plenty of suppliers, consortia and destination organizations ready to take your clients’ trips to the next level.