The luxury travel network presents the top trends from its worldwide survey, ranging from wellness to yachting. This year, travelers have been making up for lost time by flocking back to remote parts of the world.
The luxury travel network surveyed top travel agency members in over 50 countries to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the inclinations and needs influencing the premium travel sector in the upcoming year.
Traveling has been turbulent lately, but as the pandemic slowly leaves our memories, there has been a noticeable change from sleeping in our pajamas and binge-watching TV to planning that dream trip.
Travelers with the means to do so obviously want to cross off those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that until recently seemed unachievable. Here, we analyze the results of Virtuoso’s survey on travel trends for 2024 to help you organize your upcoming trip.
Let’s start by discussing the destinations that wealthy tourists wish to visit. Italy leads the list of the best travel destinations in 2024, regardless of whether one chooses to escape to a historic palazzo in Amalfi or a Tuscan wine estate. France and Greece closely follow it among tourists from the US and the UK. There are no surprises there.
As one of the last nations to open its borders, Japan tops the list of “re-emerging destinations” by region, followed by Egypt, Sri Lanka, Morocco, and Antarctica (where travel to the White Continent has dramatically increased).
According to Misty Belles, vice president of global public relations at Virtuoso, “experienced travelers are branching out to exotic locales driven by the desire to visit a place dreamed of during the pandemic or even the ambition of being the ‘first’ to a destination.”
Virtuoso also disclosed the cities affluent tourists intend to visit in the upcoming year. The top-ranked cities were Dubai, New York, London, and Florence, with Paris, the site of the 2024 Olympics, following closely behind.
94% of tourists include wellness in their trips, and 47% are willing to pay $5,000 to $10,000 per trip for this kind of self-care.
Even though outdoor retreats with a focus on nature and traditional spa treatments are among the most sought-after experiences, wealthy tourists are also becoming more interested in sustainable wellness, creative and performance art, and sleep programs.
The most well-liked locations for wellness travel are in Mexico, the US, and Europe. Virtuoso also mentioned places where self-care is rapidly increasing, including Africa, Fiji, Iceland, Thailand, and Bali.
Food and Wine
Given that 70% of Virtuoso advisors report an increase in culinary travel, it should come as no surprise that food and wine are top considerations when it comes to vacation planning.
The top culinary experiences are tasting street food and visiting a brewery or distillery, with more tourists aiming to completely immerse themselves in cultures through food.
The most sought-after locations for foodies are Italy, France, and Mexico, with Portugal, Copenhagen, Croatia, and Colombia emerging as gastronomic hotspots.
There’s been a noticeable trend toward exclusive experiences since the pandemic. High net-worth individuals are searching for hassle-free, personalized travel experiences away from prying eyes. They are doing everything from choosing luxury villas over five-star hotels to switching from first-class flights to private aviation.
Demand for yachting has skyrocketed; according to Virtuoso’s report, 2023 bookings were up 79% over 2019. San Tropez, Greece, Croatia, and the Caribbean are some of the most popular destinations. The premium travel network also observed a rise in interest in private, small-ship cruises. The Danube, Mekong, and Nile rivers are three well-traveled routes.
There is a growing awareness among high-net-worth individuals about the environmental impact of their travels. According to Virtuoso’s Luxe Report, 82% of UK travelers choose locations with more temperate weather, while 29% want to reduce their carbon footprint through carbon offsetting programs.
Rich tourists are more likely to support local communities, land conservation initiatives, animal and wildlife conservation, and eco-lodge stays when it comes to giving back.
According to Belles, tourists who wish to help those affected by recent disasters have their sights set on Greece, Morocco, and Hawaii. “We’ve observed clients supporting the local economy in these destinations by volunteering, attending approved fundraising events, supporting local businesses, and contributing to relief efforts,” the spokesperson adds.
The survey also discovered that travelers are taking advantage of the “slow season” and visiting destinations at off-peak hours to avoid the crowds and fight over-tourism.