The United States, Italy and France are the most-popular destinations for upscale spring travel, according to Virtuoso, a travel agency network specializing in luxury and experiential travel.
In a press release, Virtuoso said that Americans are staying closer to home while seeking warm weather in places like Los Angeles, Miami and Orlando.
The United Kingdom and New Zealand finished out the top five on Virtuoso’s listing, following by Israel, Japan, Australia, Spain and China, making up the top 10.
The rankings come from an examination of Virtuoso’s worldwide bookings for March and April.
“Eternally desirable Europe holds four spots on the list, Italy and France exhibit year-round popularity. U.S. travelers are benefitting from a favorable exchange rate against the euro and pound, and spring’s shoulder season is ideal for enjoying the continent minus the summer crowds,” Virtuoso said in its analysis of the data.
Families are attracted in the spring months to active experiences combined with good weather in New Zealand and Australia while Israel holds great educational appeal for families especially at Easter and Passover, according to Virtuoso.
“Travelers wanting to see Japan’s famed cherry blossoms are heading there in increasing numbers, as the country is also the top emerging destination of 2019, according to the Virtuoso Luxe Report,” according to the release.
Virtuoso also mined the data to release its Hot 10, countries that have seen the largest percentage growth in year-over-year bookings. The data comes from Virtuoso’s U.S. travel agency members.
In order, with percentage increases, the Hot 10 are: Switzerland, 589 percent; Greece, 312 percent; Morocco, 302 percent; Japan, 220 percent; United Arab Emirates, 197 percent; Spain, 112 percent; Turks and Caicos, 90 percent; New Zealand, 84 percent; Chile, 78 percent and Puerto Rico, 70 percent.
Virtuoso explains the data like this: “Switzerland is riding a wave of mounting popularity among upscale Americans for its exquisite scenery, abundance of world-class hotels and outdoor activities. Greece continues the upward trajectory Virtuoso first noted for last summer, as the country started emerging from financial challenges. Also returning strongly: North Africa and Middle East destinations such as Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. Growth in bookings to the region, first observed last fall, continues from luxury travelers. Another comeback story is the Caribbean, represented on the list by Turks and Caicos and Puerto Rico. Chile is emerging as a culinary destination, and numerous grape harvest festivals attract wine fans during March and April.”