Top 10 international summer travel destinations revealed

Madrid Cityscape

International luxury travel network Virtuoso has mined its data warehouse of more than $35 billion in transactions to reveal the top destinations for the upcoming 2016 summer travel season. Upscale jetsetters are largely seeking perennial European favorites for summer vacations, alongside select African locales. However, a few surprises emerged when Virtuoso compared this year’s summer hot spots to last year’s “must-see” destinations.

Data is sourced from Virtuoso’s United States and Canadian-based travel agency members and reflects future travel for June, July and August 2016. The Top and Hot 10 lists represent international travel only, so neither the U.S. nor Canada is mentioned on them.

The Virtuoso Top 10:

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The most popular destinations for summer vacations based on future bookings.

1.      Italy

2.      United Kingdom

3.      France

4.      Spain

5.      Netherlands

6.      Ireland

7.      Germany

8.      South Africa

9.      Greece

10.    Israel

The Top 10 analysis:  While Europe continues to dominate the list of favored destinations with eight of the 10 countries, the network’s sales to the continent are flat when compared to summer 2015. In particular, France, led by Paris, has rebounded nicely and remains strong. Overall, European countries offering great value to travelers are seeing spikes. Bookings to the Netherlands are up 38 percent this summer over last, with Virtuoso’s partner hotels showing average daily rates (ADR) 44 percent lower than the European average of $793 per night. Ireland’s ADR is 31 percent lower than the European average, leading it to see a 58 percent jump in bookings. Travelers visiting Ireland are flocking to Dublin and Galway in particular, along with county Laois in the center of the country.

 The Virtuoso Hot 10:

The countries that have seen the largest percentage of growth in year-over-year bookings.

1.      Tanzania (+98%)

2.      Portugal (+88%)

3.      Ireland (+58%)

4.      Brazil (+53%)

5.      Mexico (+48%)

6.      Russia (+44%)

7.      Netherlands (+38%)

8.      Jamaica (+28%)

9.      Sweden (+23%)

10.    Poland (+18%) 

The Hot 10 analysis:  Africa is hot, with 15 percent growth in travel to the continent over last year. Tanzania is experiencing a huge increase in bookings, as travelers seek out its incredible scenery and diversity of wildlife. South Africa is also up from 2015’s summer bookings; together the two countries represent 80 percent of Virtuoso’s travel to Africa. Portugal is also up significantly, with travel to the Azores of particular interest. Its hotel ADR is also favorable for travelers at 58 percent lower than the European average. Of the European countries, it’s exhibiting the strongest growth year over year, although Ireland, Russia, the Netherlands, Sweden and Poland also rate slots on the Hot 10. Brazil is seeing a big boost due to the Summer Olympics, being held August 5-21. Mexico and Jamaica, more typical winter travel destinations, are benefiting from inexpensive direct flights from the United States as well as reasonable hotel rates.   

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