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Greece Among 10 Hottest Destinations For Luxury Travelers

Fira, Santorini

Fira, Santorini

Photo ©

Photo ©

Greece is among the destinations where the affluent will be venturing for the remainder of 2014, including the crucial holiday time and winter months, according to Virtuoso, a leading luxury travel network.

Virtuoso made the announcement, which was based on data from its worldwide travel agency members, during its annual travel week event taking place at the Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

The luxury travel network shared the top destinations for travel overall as well as those spots that are seeing the fastest growth.

Drawing upon Virtuoso’s data warehouse of more than $32 billion in client transactions, the network’s chairman and CEO, Matthew D. Upchurch, shared that international (non-U.S. countries) travel is up 21 percent compared to the same time last year.

Travel to Virtuoso’s 10 most popular destinations are averaging an 18 percent uptick:

The Virtuoso “Top 10”

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Six Senses Spa at elounda SA hotels & resorts.

1. Italy (6%)
2. United Kingdom (30%)
3. France (23%)
4. Canada (9%)
5. Spain (20%)
6. Germany (+ 31%)
7. Mexico (+ 17%)
8. South Africa (- 5%)
9. Netherlands (+ 18%)
10. Greece (57%)

Virtuoso also referred to the countries seeing the largest year-over-year growth. Greece is also included among these countries.

Virtuoso’s “Hot List”

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Nikki Beach Porto Heli Suite

1. New Zealand (+ 196%)
2. Chile (+ 103%)
3. Indonesia (+ 103%)
4. Hungary (+ 86%)
5. Hong Kong (+ 72%)
6. Croatia (+ 68%)
7. Australia (+ 58%)
8. Ecuador (+ 57%)
9. Greece (+ 57%)
10. Norway (+ 54%)

Also revealed was that Central Europe is experiencing a surge: Hungary (86%), Croatia (68%), Austria (48%), Poland (48%), and Czech Republic (23%). Russia, however, has seen a sharp decline, down 69%. Overall, travel to European countries is up by 23%.

Mr. Upchurch also shared insights on the buying habits and motivations of upscale travelers. He noted that the same consumer is buying travel in two polar opposite ways: planning upwards of a year in advance for certain trips while also booking close-in, impulse trips to round out their travels.

Several factors are driving the high demand, most notably the massive rise in tourism with more than one billion people now crossing international borders as tourists, the rise in affluence throughout the world and, of course, the 78 million Baby Boomers who are now traveling.

Virtuoso is a by-invitation-only organization and comprises 340 agencies with more than 8,900 elite travel specialists in 20 countries in North and South America, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand, as well as over 1,700 of the world’s best travel providers and premier destinations. The network’s member agencies generate over $12.5 billion annually in travel sales, making the group the most powerful in the luxury travel segment.

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