US & Canada most popular holiday destination for Aussies, says Virtuoso

Virtuoso luxury holiday trends and preferences

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Australians are planning trips to the Americas, with the United States and Canada ranking high on the list of preferred destinations for the upcoming 2018 holiday season, according to global luxury travel network Virtuoso.

Known as a leading trend forecaster in the industry, Virtuoso has surveyed its 1,400 Australian travel advisors to uncover expert insights into luxury holiday trends and the preferences of their elite clientele.

Virtuoso Asia-Pacific Managing Director, Michael Londregan, says the research shows there is a solid pull towards Australians travelling to the United States, the result of the increased variety of carriers providing greater dispersal.

The results were unveiled at the 30th annual Virtuoso Travel Week, taking place in Las Vegas’ Bellagio Resort & Casino, ARIA Resort & Casino and Vdara Hotel & Spa, 11–17 August.

Revered as the “Fashion Week” of luxury travel, the event is the industry’s largest and most prestigious, with more than 6,000 leading luminaries attending, including 140 Australian travel advisers.

“For a long time, the US travel destinations that were popular for Australians sat along West Coast gateways, but with increased capacity through a range of American airlines and their domestic networks, we are seeing people starting to treat the US in a holistic way,” Londregan said from Las Vegas.

“With Qantas and Air New Zealand accessing new gateways like Dallas and Houston, the true tourism potential of the United States is becoming realised as the destination becomes more available.”

“Australians now think nothing of skiing in Colorado, exploring New England or Louisiana, even Mexico, as people push through the gateway cities and create interesting multi-stop itineraries.” Virtuoso Asia-Pacific Managing Director, Michael Londregan

Londregan says cruising continues to take a solid share of Australian travellers’ focus as the industry becomes more diverse, delivering product that appeals to almost any corner of the market.

“What’s great is that cruise product now has as much differentiation as hotel product, giving people the ability to choose the kind of cruise that is right for them. It recognises the right cruise is going to be different for couples, for families, people who want adventure or wellness or who are active explorers and those who just want to stay on board and enjoy the ship.

“Across the industry, we are seeing so many more options available now, which means people are more likely to get something that fits them; they are getting the right tailored solution,” Londregan added.

Current trends, based on booking patterns from Australian Virtuoso members are:

Top International Destinations:

  • United States
  • Canada/Italy (equal)
  • Japan
  • France
  • New Zealand

Top Unusual/Surprising Destinations

  • Iceland
  • Bhutan
  • Mongolia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Antarctica

Top Traveller Experiences

  • Soft adventure (hiking, bicycling)
  • Experiences with local culture
  • Wellness, spa and relaxation/ Food and beverage (tie)
  • Insider tours with locals
  • Living like a local

Top Domestic Destinations

  • Queensland
  • Tasmania
  • Byron Bay
  • Sydney
  • Uluru

Top Trip Trends

  • Ocean cruises
  • Family trips
  • Beach destinations
  • Active and adventure trips
  • River cruises

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