THE 2020 Virtuoso Luxe Report has been released with the document detailing the top travel trends already motivating next year’s holiday happenings.
The report notes “Australian travellers are seizing the day and prioritising trips now, powered by the belief that customised experiences are the best investment of their money and time”.
“Celebrating a milestone is the top factor inspiring Australian travellers in 2020 (which is) a first for the Luxe Report,” a Virtuoso media release notes.
“Carpe diem travel is fuelling the desire to savour as many new destinations and exciting experiences as possible in more authentic ways, while travellers still want to journey in comfort (on) luxury personalised adventures shared with family and friends.”
The love of cruising is set to continue, with adventure voyages and ocean itineraries topping the holiday to-do lists of “upscale globetrotters”, but the 2020 Luxe Report highlights some new developments in how sightseers are spending their holiday budget.
Untouristed and unexpected
“With some favourite destinations seeing an untenable rise in demand, the well-travelled luxury set is seeking remote (and) unspoiled destinations to avoid crowds at over-touristed locales. Virtuoso advisors report a rise in requests for places ranging from the culturally distinct to those steeped in nature including Borneo, Greenland and Oman.”
“Trips that mix locales are trending, especially ones with surprising combinations. Travellers may pair a ski adventure with a beach finale, or a city stay with a jungle adventure or a well-travelled place followed by a little-known spot to mingle with locals. The focus is on varied experiences that enrich the trip with each stop.”
“Culinary travel has transcended ‘trend’ to become its own niche, with amazing food and drink now considered essential to any trip. Cooking classes, eating in private homes, Michelin-starred restaurants, farm-to-table visits, truffle hunting allow foodies to go beyond just having a seat at the table. Dining has become such a focus that some travellers are requesting restaurant reservations at the same time they book their flights.”
“Travel unites those who share common interests and Virtuoso advisors say clients want to connect with like-minded people. Gen X-ers and Boomers are travelling to bond with friends and others who share their passions or are at the same life stage. Women’s travel is on the rise as well, including soft adventure trips and affluent girl getaways to unplug, relax and play, while groups of couples are also travelling together including buddymoons where newlyweds bring pals along for the fun.”
“Today’s traveller is seeking more profound experiences leading to increased emotional intelligence. Pushing beyond their comfort zone, combined with genuine interaction among locals, provides travellers with a deeper appreciation for the people and cultures they encounter. Virtuoso clients are opting to tap into their passions (like) tasting with the owner of a local winery, a motorcycle tour or a personal shopper to guide them through the latest pop-up stores.”
Enjoying the journey
“Upscale voyagers are using exclusive services including meet-and-greets plane-side to avoid the stress of changing terminals, locating gates, or waiting in customs lines. The Private Suite at Los Angeles International Airport offers a members-only terminal where travellers are escorted through TSA screenings, driven to and from aircraft in BMWs, and provided a room to relax in between flights.”
When it comes to locations Japan continues to call Australians with the Virtuoso listing it as our “top emerging destination”.
The Land of the Rising Sun has jumped “from fourth to the top slot as global favourite and appearing on this year’s lists for Millennial, family and solo travel destinations.”
Antarctica crowns the register of adventure destinations —with more cruises available now to carry travellers to the pristine continent — while Croatia takes top spot in the Millennial destination category.
Virtuoso surveys its travel-agent members every year to predict what’s ahead with hundreds of advisors in 50 countries around the globe sharing insights on what their customers are searching for when it’s time to make vacation plans.
In short, the Luxe Report “reveals consumer inclinations in high-end and experiential travel”.