Italy comes out on top in Virtuoso’s survey of top booking destinations for fall.
Luxury travel network Virtuoso unveiled its hottest upscale international destinations for this fall and holiday season at Virtuoso Travel Week—naming perennial favorite Italy as the top country its customers are booking, and Kenya as the fastest-growing.
According to Virtuoso, the most popular fall and holiday travel destinations based on future bookings are, in order: Italy, France, United Kingdom, South Africa, Spain, Mexico, China, Australia, New Zealand and Israel.
Even though many cruise and tour operators have been seeing lower bookings for Europe this summer, Virtuoso travel advisors say the destination is picking up because of lower average daily rates (ADRs) at partner hotels in major European cities as summer ends. ADR for Paris is down 2% ($1,087), Rome is 6% lower ($949), London is down 7% ($704) and Barcelona is 15% lower than summer rates ($596).
According to Virtuoso, London and Barcelona in particular represent great value to travelers this fall and holiday season, with average ADR down 21% and 43%, respectively, below the average ADR ($853) for partner properties in Europe.
Virtuoso also said Mexico’s appeal as a warm-weather getaway for Americans and Canadians is continuing despite concerns over Zika. Australia and New Zealand remain favored destinations as well, while Israel continues to be popular despite continued turmoil in the Middle East.
Countries that have seen the largest percentage of growth in year-over-year bookings are, in order, Kenya (up 59%), Iceland (up 56%), Saint Martin (39%), China (35%), Ecuador (34%), Japan (32%), South Africa (28%), Tanzania (27%), Croatia (25%) and Jamaica (23%).
Africa continues to surge in popularity, which Virtuoso attributes to a continuation of the trend it noted for summer travel. Sales are up 28% year over year, with Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, all strong safari destinations, benefiting from a projected 17% increase.
Meanwhile, Virtuoso said Iceland has been a growing favorite in recent years, and its high showing on the Hot 10 shows that its popularity is extending into the fall. China also has been trending upward with luxury travelers over the past few years. While travel there is steady year-round, the last quarter of the year is the most popular, nudged up by ADRs that are 5% below average. Select Caribbean and South American destinations continue to see growth, with Saint Martin, Ecuador and Jamaica experiencing double-digit increases over last year.
Virtuoso used data from its more than $35 billion in transactions, drawn from its U.S. and Canada-based travel agency members. It reflects future travel for September through December 2016, the company said.