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Israel, Turkey back in US luxury travelers' fall/holiday plans

FILE PHOTO: Viking Ocean Cruises
Turkey is experiencing an upswing in demand among luxury travelers. Here, Viking Star visits Istanbul
The Middle East is seeing a comeback among upscale Americans this fall and holiday season, according to new findings from global luxury travel network Virtuoso.

Virtuoso examined data from its warehouse of more than $40.7bn in transactions to unveil the most in-demand places for the coming fall and holiday season.

Virtuoso's Top 10

For this period the most popular travel destinations for Americans, based on future bookings, are: 1. Italy, 2. France, 3. South Africa, 4. Israel, 5. Germany, 6. Japan, 7. Greece, 8. United States, 9. New Zealand and 10. Switzerland.

Always strong for summer travel, Europe’s allure extends into the fall, with five countries placing on the list. Germany, in particular, holds strong appeal for river cruisers wishing to experience the famed Christmas markets.

Japan’s blend of tradition and modernity make it increasingly popular among upscale travelers, landing the country on this year’s Virtuoso Luxe Report list of top emerging destinations. South Africa and New Zealand, both perennially fashionable for families and adventure travelers, are compelling choices for seasonality, as they head into their spring and summer.

Also noteworthy on the list: Americans’ desire to roam their own country and stay closer to home for the holidays.

Virtuoso's Hot 10

The countries that are seeing the largest percentage of growth in year-over-year bookings among US travelers are 1. Turkey (+310%), 2. Egypt (+264%), 3. Morocco (+144%), 4. India (+128%), 5. Cayman Islands (+124%), 6. Brazil (+92%), 7. Israel (+88%), 8. Switzerland (+82%), 9. Indonesia (+76%) and 10. Greece (+74%).

The Middle East and North Africa are trending upward this fall and holiday season, demonstrating pent-up demand for this intriguing region of the world. In particular, Israel is one of three destinations to place on both the Top 10 and Hot 10 lists this quarter, indicating it is in high demand.

Switzerland’s world-class ski resorts beckon upscale active families for holiday celebrations. Greece, the fastest-growing destination this summer, continues to shine into the fall and early winter. Luxury travelers are also seeking warm-weather destinations that offer distinctive cultural experiences as well, such as India, Brazil and Indonesia.

Data is obtained from Virtuoso’s US agency members and reflects future travel for September through December.

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