Bookings to Africa are Booming

Virtuoso Travels uncovers the emerging destinations where luxury travelers are vacationing now.

The Luxonomist. 17/02/2016

Global luxury travel network Virtuoso, respected in the industry as an influential trend forecaster, has analyzed the latest data from its warehouse of more than $35 billion in transactions to uncover where wealthy travelers are heading this winter and spring. Upscale travelers are seeking exotic destinations as they escape winter’s hold on North America. While some perennial warm-weather favorites remain popular, Virtuoso’s proprietary data also reveals a yearning to explore far and wide as it compares destinations with the most year-overyear appeal.

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The most popular destinations for January-March 2016 vacations.

  1. Mexico
  2. Canada
  3. Australia
  4. New Zealand
  5. United Kingdom
  6. South Africa
  7. Argentina
  8. India
  9. Chile
  10. China

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Global travel is up overall, and travelers are flocking to a mix of eternally fashionable places and more unusual choices. Mexico and Canada finish first and second, their strength not surprising due to their proximity to the United States. Southern destinations dominate the Top 10 as usual for winter in the Northern Hemisphere, with one notable European exception being the U.K. Australia and New Zealand are experiencing solid growth, especially for two already popular luxury destinations.

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Upscale travelers, always searching for novel destinations, are finding them in Asia and South America. India in particular is surging, and Argentina and Chile continue to beckon wealthy travelers with their mix of food, wine, diverse landscapes and history. It’s also worth noting that half these destinations are English-speaking, making them more comfortable for U.S travelers.

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These countries have seen the most significant growth in year-on-year bookings for the first quarter.

  1. Panama (+107%)
  2. Thailand (+92%)
  3. Switzerland (+56%)
  4. South Africa (+50%)
  5. Kenya (+47%)
  6. India (+46%)
  7. Jamaica (+44%)
  8. Vietnam (+43%)
  9. Colombia (+39%)
  10. Spain (+34%)

Travel 6
Virtuoso Africa. Click to book

Bookings to Africa are booming; this analysis revealed that luxury travel there has grown more than any other continent. The noteworthy upward movement for both South Africa and Kenya contributed to the continent’s 29 percent boost year over year. While warmweather locales elsewhere are also well represented, they are not traditional sun-and-sand spots. Select destinations in Asia and Latin America are trending strongly. Developing countries such as Vietnam and Colombia appear on the list, indicating the significant appetite for culture, cuisine and fresh frontiers.


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