Travel Agents Share the Top Destinations for 2014: Not Italy!

A beach in Buzios, Brazil. Kent St. John photo.Leading luxury travel network, Virtuoso, harnessed the data of its worldwide travel agency members to reveal 2014’s top destinations during its annual Symposium taking place in Berlin this week.  Sharing year-over-year growth for first quarter sales as well as the destinations trending for this summer, Virtuoso proved that travelers seeking unique experiences are not afraid to venture further to find them.

European perennial favorites topped the list of those countries experiencing the strongest year-over-year sales for January-March 2014.  The top five countries – United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France and Italy – lead the sales with a 21 percent uptick.  Notable areas of growth include Germany, which is up 24 percent, as well as Switzerland, which experienced an overall increase of 33 percent and hotels in particular enjoyed a 51 percent increase.  Secondary European markets also saw a first-quarter lift: Greece (+69 percent), Austria (+53 percent), Czech Republic (+47 percent), Hungary (+47 percent), and Sweden (+44 percent).  Citing 17 percent year-over-year growth for air bookings for the same time period, Virtuoso also shared that 44 percent of air sales occur between January and June for all of Europe.

Summer travel sales appear even more promising.

·  Brazil (+277 percent) – It comes as no surprise the Brazil leads the charge with World Cup host cities like Fortaleza seeing the greatest surge.

·  Ecuador (+118 percent) – Accounting for 20 percent of air bookings to South America, it has less than five percent of the continent’s population.

·   Indonesia (+82 percent) – Increased traveler interest across the islands.

·   Norway (+65 percent) – Topping all other locales within Scandinavia.

·   South Africa (+47 percent) – The favorite destination on the African Continent, thanks in large part to Sabi Sand Game Reserve’s popularity.