Festivities, frontiers and (eco)friendliness: 2024 Virtuoso Luxe Report tells us what luxury travellers want

Beautiful View of Croatia
Edited by Travel Weekly

    According to the 2024 Virtuoso Luxe Report, luxury travellers within Australia and New Zealand are increasingly comfortable venturing further afield, demonstrating a committed sense of adventure and urgency for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

    Virtuoso surveyed its travel agency members and its teams of professional travel advisors to predict what lies ahead in the coming year. While the global survey spans more than 50 countries, Virtuoso was able to zero in on traveller preferences within Australia and New Zealand.

    Virtuoso travel advisors report their clients are more interested than ever in fulfilling their travel aspirations. Despite inflation and global unrest, they remain curious and willing to pay for new experiences. More than 40 percent of advisors surveyed expect travel demand and spend per trip to increase in 2024.

    The Luxe Report identified five key trends highlighting how upscale globetrotters are establishing their influence in the travel-sphere for 2024:

    1. New Frontiers: Although many continue to find comfort in their past favourites, other experienced travellers are diverging from the usual European options and branching out to exotic locales and less-explored areas. Driven by the desire to visit a place dreamed of during the pandemic, an under-the-radar location recommended by an advisor or even the ambition of being “first” to a destination, luxury travellers are intrigued by the unexplored.
    2. The Party Continues: Post-pandemic travel saw many delayed celebrations realised and the festivities continue with celebration travel making the list of top trends and motivations for 2024. It’s no surprise travellers are sharing life’s most important moments with family – both travel with immediate family and multigenerational travel appear on the trends list. Whether commemorating a milestone or simply spending quality time together, travel remains an essential part of connecting with loved ones.
    3. Honouring the Earth: Extreme weather has shaped a traveller who is hyper-aware of the fragility of the world and eager to honour its majesty. Virtuoso advisors say their clients are pushing geographical boundaries to witness nature in its pristine form for fear it will diminish or become inaccessible. Greece, Morocco and Hawaii are also top-of-mind for travellers who want to support the economy of destinations recently impacted by disaster while remaining respectful of their recovery.
    4. Small Ships, Big Possibilities: With less crowded, more intimate settings in favour, small-vessel cruising is on the rise with new and experienced cruisers alike. Upscale voyagers in search of a more authentic experience are favouring river cruises for the casual atmosphere, proximity to major cities and wide-ranging itineraries. Popular routes include the Danube River, the Mekong River and the Nile. Adventure cruising tops the trends list due to prevailing interest in Alaska and increased accessibility to Antarctica, 2024’s leading adventure destination.
    5. At Ease: Lingering restrictions, frustrating shortages and turbulent air travel have led to increased demand for custom trips made easy. From exclusive-use experiences – private jets, yachts and villas – to booking half days at hotels to ensure they have accommodations that fit their needs, today’s traveller is maximising comfort. The desire to leave nothing to chance serves as increased motivation for using a professional travel advisor to simplify bookings and enhance the overall experience.

    Perennially popular, Italy remains the global favourite destination, whether for families or honeymooners. But it’s not simply back to basics for luxury travellers. Croatia is the new European favourite for those looking to avoid crowds in Italy and Greece. One of the last countries to open its borders to the outside world, Japan, with its refined culture and in-demand cuisine, heads the list of re-emerging destinations. Travellers are also rediscovering Southeast Asia, with Thailand and Vietnam on the must-see list for many in 2024.

    Antarctica is a hot destination (not literally) for lux travellers

    Due to elevated interest in the upcoming Paris Olympics, as well as its status as a beloved destination among foodies and art connoisseurs, France ascended into the top five in three categories, including family travel. Adventure seekers are drawn to the enchantment of the northern lights and the unspoiled splendour of Iceland, Alaska and Antarctica.

    Key findings from the 2024 Virtuoso Luxe Report – Australia & New Zealand:

    Top Travel Trends

    1. Adventure cruising
    2. Family travel (immediate family)
    3. Multigenerational travel
    4. Celebration travel
    5. Ocean cruising

    Top Re-emerging Destinations

    1. Japan
    2. Egypt
    3. Iceland
    4. Antarctica
    5. Morocco

    Top Global Destinations 

    1. Italy
    2. Greece
    3. France
    4. Croatia
    5. England

    Top Cities

    1. Paris
    2. Rome
    3. Barcelona
    4. London
    5. Tokyo

    Top Family Travel Destinations

    1. Italy
    2. Hawaii
    3. Greece
    4. Japan
    5. France

    Top Adventure Destinations

    1. Antarctica
    2. Alaska
    3. Iceland
    4. Egypt
    5. New Zealand

    Top Honeymoon Destinations 

    1. Fiji
    2. Maldives
    3. Greece
    4. Italy
    5. Bali

    Top Cruise Itineraries

    1. Mediterranean
    2. Antarctica
    3. Alaska
    4. Danube River
    5. Greek Isles

    Top Aspects of Sustainable Tourism 

    1. Avoiding over-touristed destinations
    2. Wildlife conservation/interaction
    3. Booking with companies that employ locals
    4. Giving back to/supporting local communities
    5. Booking with companies with ethical standards

    Top Travel Motivations

    1. Excitement of discovering new destinations
    2. Crossing off Wanderlist locations/experiences
    3. Celebrating a milestone
    4. Rest and relaxation
    5. Spending time with loved ones

    More than 2,000 travel advisors from Virtuoso-affiliated agencies in North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and the Middle East took the Luxe Report survey, drawing on their extensive knowledge, professional experience and client requests to offer insight into 2024’s top trends.

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