Sustainability remains a top priority
In a recent survey, 74 percent of Virtuoso travelers said they are willing to pay more for sustainable travel if they know where their money is going. And 70 percent agreed that sustainable travel actually improves their vacation experience. Travelers are increasingly committed to purposeful travel, and not just in the purely ecological sense. They are also looking for companies and experiences that focus on “For the benefit of local people and the economy” and “Preservation of natural and cultural heritage.”
Travelers of all ages are ready to indulge in value-added services – like a good travel advisor
According to a recent Virtuoso survey, 76 percent of travelers accepted that we were staying in a “new normal”, This explains the growing demand – and increasing value – of an expert advisor who can save travelers time, energy and hours of phoning with customer support. Even Millennials and Gen Zers are turning to travel consultants. “My daughter is 25 and approves of using a travel professional.” said Virtuoso travel consultant Susan Bowman. “She tells everyone and her friends agree too. They seem to be a generation that gets it and they have found that we add value.” Between navigating the airport and handling travel logistics, many travelers choose to work with a dedicated travel consultant. “One of the simplest definitions of luxury is, ‘Of course I can do it myself. I do not want'”, said Matthew D. Upchurch, chairman and CEO of Virtuoso. “Travelers want to find someone who really knows what they’re doing, is well connected, saves time, and has their back.”
Travelers are planning ahead again
With people on the move in record numbers, there’s never been so much of a rush to booking flights and hotels. In response to this pent-up demand, travelers are now booking their trips an average of 58 days in advance for domestic hotel stays and 80 days for international travel (up from 44 and 60 days in 2019, respectively). “We’ve seen so much last minute demand and the space is literally not there,” said Virtuoso consultant Beth Washington. “We’re seeing people ready to start thinking about things for 2023 now, rather than making last-minute plans.”
Off-season travel is gaining momentum
If it seemed so Everyone was in Europe this summer, that’s because they were. According to a Virtuoso survey, seven of the top ten international travel destinations this summer were in Europe, led by Italy and France. The surge in bookings has some destinations, such as Italy, concerned about the impact of overtourism. For this reason, travel professionals in Italy — the second most popular destination for fall travel — advise travelers to visit in the off-season. It’s a win-win for travel destinations and travelers who can see popular places without the crowds. In a recent survey, the majority of Virtuoso travelers said they would be willing to visit a popular off-season destination. Virtuoso editors recommend booking a room in Passalacqua, the new Lake Como villa of hotelier Valentina De Santis and the team at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, open all year round – a rarity in the Lake Como region.
The destinations to watch
Palm fringed beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters, island hopping. No, we’re not talking about the Maldives, but about India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Located on the southeastern edge of the Bay of Bengal, the archipelago is known for its spectacular diving and bioluminescent waters, which travelers can experience on nighttime kayaking off Havelock Island.
About 45 minutes’ drive north of Cabo San Lucas is the Eastern Cape, a relatively unknown stretch of Sea of Cortés where a new Four Seasons resort has just landed. According to the tourism board, the destination is a nature lover’s dream due to its proximity to the Cabo Puma National Marine Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
All eyes are on Greenland! Silversea will launch new itineraries to the Arctic country — the world’s largest island — next year, while other cruise lines, including Quark and Lindblad, will expand their offerings.
Virtuoso Onsite Tour Connection Access Italy let Virtuoso delve into one of their hidden gems: the beautifully preserved hilltop village of Civita di Bagnoregio. The medieval city lies between Rome and Florence and can only be reached via a pedestrian bridge. And for now, thankfully, it’s staying under the radar.
More insider news
One of the best ways to plan future trips is to create a hiking list and share it with a Virtuoso advisor who can fulfill pearl harvesting dreams in Australia or take a private tour of Georgia O’Keeffe’s home and studio. Virtuoso has tapped into his global network to find out what else is on the horizon of experience for his world citizens.
- A new astronaut-inspired camp lands in Antarctica in December. Echo, from super-high-end tour operator White Desert, will include six futuristic sleeping pods and a common area inspired by a visit from Buzz Aldrin and the love of co-founder Patrick Woodhead War of stars. The experience costs $104,000 per person and includes a trip to the South Pole and private flights to and from the ice rink on the property’s doorstep.
- Earlier this month, Auberge Resorts opened a laid-back surf retreat in Punta de Mita on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Susurros del Corazón will feature 59 rooms and 30 villas clustered around a three-tiered infinity pool set on a gorgeous white-sand beach. Activities include a “surf safari” That takes guests to lesser-known beaches with consistent breaks and little to no crowds.
- Fiuggi, Italy is the setting for The Ranch’s newest outpost. The wellness retreat offers week-long detoxification cures and hikes along ancient trading pilgrimage routes.
- Armendaris is the newest addition to the Ted Turner Reserves, known for their sustainable game reserves in the American Southwest. Located on 360,000 acres in New Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert, the four-bedroom hacienda offers a private chef and experiences such as nature photography workshops, wildlife tours and mountain biking.
- Iceland is getting its first rooftop bar! Next spring, the Reykjavik Edition will debut a rooftop terrace where guests can sip cocktails while watching the Northern Lights.
- This month, Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace will unveil six vegan suites built without animal products and featuring vegan menus and amenities.
- Beginning this season, guests at the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole can hop on a private plane and discover a remote corner of Yellowstone National Park, where they meet with an experienced naturalist to learn about—and maybe even learn about—the area’s elusive gray wolves to see a few close up.
- Safari operator Singita has established art galleries at its Sabi Sand and Kruger National Park Lodges. These spaces will showcase the work of outstanding and emerging African artists. The initiative is part of Singita’s overarching mission to celebrate and incorporate local culture into its offerings.
About the virtuoso
Virtuoso® is the leading global travel agency network specializing in luxury and adventure travel. This invitation-only organization includes over 1,200 travel agency locations with more than 20,000 travel consultants in over 50 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. Leveraging its privileged relationships with more than 2,200 of the world’s premier hotels and resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour operators and premier destinations, the network offers exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access to its upscale clientele. Normalized annual sales of $25 billion to $30 billion make Virtuoso a powerhouse in the luxury travel industry. Visit www.virtuoso.com for more information.