According to the 2024 Virtuoso® Luxe Report, British travellers are increasingly comfortable venturing further afield, demonstrating a committed sense of adventure and urgency for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in far-flung locations. Global luxury and experiential travel network Virtuoso surveyed its industry-leading travel agency members, and their 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 the U.K. Virtuoso is a respected trend forecaster, and the annual Luxe Report illuminates consumer preferences for high-end luxury and experiential travel.
With the value of time – and the significance of how and with whom we spend it – now a focal point for many, Virtuoso travel advisors report their clients are more interested than ever in fulfilling their travel aspirations. Despite inflation and global unrest, they remain insatiably curious and willing to pay for new experiences. More than 60 percent of advisors surveyed expect travel demand and spend per trip to increase in 2024.
TheLuxe 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. The cultural richness of reemerging travel hotspots, such as Japan and Egypt, offer unique and exciting itineraries for those seeking a departure from the norm.
2. The Party Continues: Post-pandemic travel saw many delayed celebrations realized, 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 – travel with immediate family tops 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 is also trending due to increased accessibility to Antarctica, 2024’s leading cruise itinerary and its second-most popular adventure destination. Private yacht charters are an emerging category for small groups of friends or families who prefer to customize their maritime activities.
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 maximizing 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. 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 reemerging destinations. Travellers are also rediscovering South Asia, with Sri Lanka and India on the must-see list for many in 2024. 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. The unspoiled splendours of Iceland and Antarctica, as well as unforgettable wildlife safaris in Kenya and South Africa, entice adventure seekers.