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The hottest travel trends and destinations for 2019

travel-trendsThe latest Virtuoso® Luxe Report shows travel in 2019 will be highly personalised and inspired by a desire to experience new destinations in unusual ways. Every year global luxury travel network Virtuoso surveys its industry-leading force of travel agencies and advisors in 50 countries, including 28 locations in the U.K., to forecast what the coming year will bring. The Luxe Report, which has established Virtuoso as a trusted trend predictor, unveils consumer preferences in high-end and experiential travel.

Virtuoso’s affiliated travel advisors revealed client requests that illustrate the desire for a deeper level of personalisation and one-of-a-kind experiences. From specific seat numbers on planes and hotel room numbers to particular rental car types, travellers are more vocal about their precise preferences. Nothing is left to chance, as increasingly clients ask for prearranged meals and appointments. They are seeking not just restaurant reservations, but exact tables at in-demand hot spots as well as pre-ordering wine to accompany the meal. They also ask their advisor to book sessions with hairdressers, massage therapists and even tattoo artists.

Through the Luxe Report, Virtuoso uncovered five trends – all with an overarching movement toward personalisation – shaping how the U.K.’s most affluent travellers will roam the world in 2019.

  1. Motivation: social media’s influence is unmistakable, as it drives travellers’ desire to find the most captivating backdrops and the best time of day for snapping images. Clients are requesting on-site photography sessions to create Instagram-worthy content, including replicating shots they admired online. Virtuoso advisors are arranging themed photoshoots characteristic of destinations, such as wearing traditional geisha attire in Kyoto or ball gowns in Venice.
  2. Transportation: when flying commercial, airlines with state-of-the-art business and first-class cabins are a favourite. Upon landing, VIP airport arrival services that whisk travellers through customs and ease tight connections are growing in demand. Requests are on the rise for private helicopter transfers to and from airports as well as from one city or resort island to another.
  3. Accommodation: experiential travellers who have seen it all are craving stays in unconventional accommodations. Those range from a treehouse to a monastery to an igloo in Norway, a tent in the Moroccan desert, the shores of the Red Sea, and even a bubble nestled in nature so they can gaze at stars before drifting off to sleep.
  4. Recreation: people want to explore their passions through bucket-list experiences. Sports fans are asking for tickets to major events such as the Olympics, Super Bowl and Wimbledon. Art aficionados are inquiring about private tours of locales like the Vatican after hours. Shoppers want appointments at high-end stores such as Hermès to purchase signature items like a Birkin bag. Music lovers are booking trips to summer festivals and concerts. Advisors are also arranging private dinners with influential local figures.
  5. Conservation: travellers are expressing heightened interest in animal-related experiences. Some request visits to animal protection facilities or to observe animals in the wild, such as whale watching and viewing rhinos at close range. Some want to interact more directly with animals, such as at the Giraffe House in Nairobi or dog sledding to the North Pole. They also exhibit concern for animal welfare and want to ensure that interactions are sustainable.

Seeking authentic experiences is the prevailing travel motivator for Brits in 2019, and Japan tops their list of emerging destinations. Japan also finished in the top five for global and Millennial destinations; it is trending in popularity with luxury travellers worldwide. Adventure travel is the top trend for U.K. travellers, with authenticity emerging in second place. Italy is the top global destination and also finished in the top five for honeymoons.

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Key findings from the U.K. version of the 2019 Virtuoso Luxe Report:

Top global destinations

1. Italy
2. Greece
3. Sri Lanka
4. Maldives
5. Japan
6. Barbados
7. Portugal
8. New Zealand
9. France
10. United States

Top emerging destinations

1. Japan
2. Colombia
3. Sri Lanka
4. Turkey
5. Bhutan
6. Mozambique
7. Rwanda
8. Cambodia
9. China
10.India

Top travel trends  

1. Active or adventure trips
2. Authenticity
3. Food and wine travel
4. Luxury cruises
5. Wellness travel

Top adventure destinations

1. South Africa
2. Costa Rica
3. Tanzania
4. Nepal
5. Argentina

Top Millennial destinations

1. South Africa
2. Australia
3. Japan
4. Bali
5. Vietnam

Top cities

1. Rome
2. Paris
3. Tokyo
4. New York City
5. Sydney

Top family travel destinations                         

1. Greece
2. United States
3. New Zealand
4. France

Top honeymoon destinations

1. Maldives
2. Seychelles
3. Italy
4. Mexico
5. Mauritius
Top cruise itineraries
1. Mediterranean
2. Caribbean
3. Baltic Region
4. Private yacht charters
5. World cruise

Top travel motivations

1. Seeking authentic experiences
2. Crossing off bucket-list items
3. Seeking adventure
4. Rest and relaxation
5. Exploring new destinations

A total of 1,071 travel advisors from Virtuoso-affiliated agencies in the U.K. as well as the rest of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean were surveyed for the global version of the report, drawing on their vast experience as well as client requests to provide insight into 2019’s hottest trends.

Tags: Travel Trends, Virtuoso Luxe Report

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