There are currently 120 Australian-based luxury travel advisors in Las Vegas, attending the 29th annual Virtuoso Travel Week event, taking place from 12-18 August. The opportunity to join over 5,500 travel professionals from across the world has led to a fair amount of networking and brainstorming with Virtuoso travel advisors putting forward their collective vibe on the latest trends for high-end Australian travellers.
With its agency members representing the strongest sales force in luxury travel, Virtuoso is uniquely qualified to anticipate coming trends and is recognised as an authoritative voice within the industry. A new survey of the network’s professional travel advisors in Australia has revealed where upscale travellers will be heading this summer – and top of the list, not surprisingly, is cruise!
“The growth in momentum for cruising shows no sign of slowing as the cruise sector again tops the survey results,” Virtuoso Asia Pacific Managing Director, Michael Londregan said from Las Vegas today.
“The cruise sector has comprehensively diversified to ensure they have product for every segment of the market with smaller ship luxury, expedition, river and sailing vessels, and Australians are in love with cruising boasting the strongest per capita cruise markets in the world.
“In the past 12 months alone, we have been privileged to experience the arrival of the most luxurious cruise vessels ever built and many of our travel agency members, and their clients, have already seen the new level of luxury on offer.
“The cabins are better described as elegant suites, the dining is delivered in boutique world-class restaurants and the spa facilities are complete on-board retreats.
“This new class of upscale cruising continues to provide the ideal platform to explore unique corners of the world with touring that delivers expert insights and authentic experiences for the entire family.”
Virtuoso’s survey of Australian based luxury travel advisors also revealed:
• Cruising is king: Luxury cruising is the number one travel trend and, when combined with adventure, ocean and river, there is no holding back Australia’s love of cruising holidays. Multigenerational travel follows, with beach resort stays taking third place.
• We like our icons: The Great Barrier Reef is the number one domestic destination for luxury travellers, followed by The Kimberleys and Australian coastal cruising, and Uluru takes third place.
• We love Europe: If your social media feed left you thinking all your friends are holidaying in Europe, Virtuoso’s research backs this up. Italy is the leading destination for Australians, followed by Spain (tied with the United States) and Croatia. Australians also love Japan, which took third place with Croatia.
• Experience is luxury: The chance to explore new destinations is the number one motivator for Australian luxury travellers and these travellers are also looking to have authentic experiences, while relaxation and rest was the third most popular reason Virtuoso clients are travelling right now.
The survey also shows Australian luxury travel advisors are enjoying strong sales growth, with 75% reporting an increase in sales on the previous year.
IMAGE: Cruising is King – The Colonnade onboard the luxury Seabourn Encore