Every year, thousands of Virtuoso travel advisors descend on Las Vegas to shop for the upcoming year of travel.
Think of Virtuoso Travel Week as the Fashion Week of luxury travel. Instead of Saint Laurent, Chanel, and Dior presenting next season’s looks, the world’s best hotels, cruise lines, and tour operators converge to reveal what’s new in high-end travel.
It’s the largest luxury travel conference in the world, helmed by Virtuoso, a network of 17,500 luxury travel advisors in 50 countries, with $23.7 billion in sales last year.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
1. The Caribbean is making a comeback
Following a devastating hurricane season last year, the Caribbean is well on its way to recovery.
Hotels are reopening throughout the region in time for the holiday season, and with 70 per cent of the Caribbean unaffected by hurricanes at all, high season is shaping up to be a nice rebound for the area.
2. Off the beaten path in Panama
UnCruise Adventures will expand their Panama cruises, adding more culture- and nature-focused excursions.
A new 12-night sailing includes the Guna Yala Islands (formerly known as the San Blas Islands). All Panama cruises include canal transit.
3. Cunard’s Alaskan return
New for May 2019, Cunard returns to Alaska for the first time in 20 years.
The Queen Elizabeth will sail round-trip from Vancouver and offer pre- or post- extensions to Calgary and beyond with luxury rail line Rocky Mountaineer.
4. Iceland without the crowds
Iceland’s popularity isn’t fading – more than 2.2 million visited in 2017, compared with 500,000 in 2010.
To counterbalance the crowds, intimate farm and family stays are the best way to experience true Iceland, says 50 Degrees North, a Virtuoso tour connection.
A fun new trend for travellers is sushi cruises, where travellers help to catch local seafood and eat it on the ship.
5. Yoga-biking tours
The adventure travel and biking company Backroads celebrates its 40th anniversary next year and is introducing morning yoga to most of its biking trips for 2019.
6. Nashville news
While Nashville isn’t necessarily known as a wine centre, the area surrounding the city is an up-and-coming wine region.
In town, the Hutton Hotel is home to Analog, a 5,000-square-foot music venue with two recording studios, where artists can write and record songs.
7. Sri Lanka
This Indian Ocean island nation is popping up on many “where to travel next” lists – with good reason.
It’s an easy add-on to a Maldives trip (just an hour by plane) and the country has some exceptional accommodations. Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort focuses on sustainability by creating their own rice paddies (rice is donated to local temples), developing programs for local school kids, and growing their own papayas.
Did you know the stem of a papaya makes a great straw? The resort also has the largest spa in Sri Lanka, with a focus on ayurvedic programs, and employs a coconut guru, a wine guru, an “experience” guru, and a nature guru.
8. South Africa by rail
The Blue Train, which travels between Pretoria and Cape Town on a historic 1920s route, has expanded one-day trips to two days, plus added a new lounge.
9. Meaningful Middle East travel
Travelers can follow the Meaningful Travel Map, visiting various social enterprises around the country to learn more about cultural and social initiatives, and their impact on local communities.
10. Travel with a purpose
Me to We works with travel advisors to plan socially responsible and sustainable trips for travellers in Kenya, Ecuador, and India.
It was founded by a 12-year-old boy hoping to end childhood slavery. Fifty per cent of profits go back into the organization’s charity.
This article originally appeared on Virtuoso’s blog, The Virtuoso Life. To read the full version, go here.