Luxury travellers are setting their sights for summer travel on emerging destinations all over the world, according to a new analysis from global luxury travel network Virtuoso.

The organisation has examined its data warehouse of $49.5bn in bookings to forecast where upscale voyagers are heading this summer. European countries continue to be most popular, while the fastest-growing locales point to a desire for culturally immersive experiences. 

The Virtuoso Top 10:

The most popular destinations for the summer of 2019 according to bookings.

  1. United States                               6.  South Africa
  2. Italy                                               7.  Spain
  3. United Kingdom                          8.  Germany
  4. France                                           9.  Ireland
  5. Greece                                          10. Netherlands

The Top 10 Analysis: As Americans plan their summer getaways, some are opting to stay closer to home and explore their own country, putting the United States in the number-one slot. The scenery and diversity of national parks appeal to families and adventurers alike when the temps warm up. Europe, always a favourite, claims eight spots in the Top 10. History, culture, cuisine and abundant luxury offerings make Europe a preferred option for upscale travellers. Notably, Spain moves up three places from last summer, as it offers better value compared to other spots in Western Europe. South Africa’s winter season offers excellent viewing conditions for safaris as well as peak whale watching.

The Virtuoso Hot 10:

The countries that have experienced the largest year-over-year percentage increases in summer bookings.

  1. Chile (+410%)                               6.  Kenya (+89%)
  2. India (+173%)                               7.  Egypt (+76%)
  3. Puerto Rico (+149%)                    8.  Singapore (+73%)
  4. Philippines (+129%)                    9.  Costa Rica (+67%)
  5. Belgium (+111%)                          10. Dominican Republic (+58%)

The Hot 10 Analysis: Following a trend first spotted in spring 2019, Chile continues its upswing in popularity by offering a variety of terrain from the Atacama Desert to the Lake District to the Andes Mountains to wine valleys. India and the Philippines are among the more exotic destinations luring visitors with their ability to deliver on the authenticity so desired by luxe travellers. Kenya offers outstanding safari opportunities as well as the wildebeest migration in the Maasai Mara, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and beaches. Travellers looking for sun and sand are escaping to Caribbean destinations such as Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Pop culture tourism is fuelling interest in Singapore (see photo top of page), the setting for the hit film “Crazy Rich Asians.”