Luxury travel up-and-coming destinations also include United Arab Emirates, African Safaris, Iceland and Antarctica; European river cruises top all luxury travel international destinations.

Plymouth, MN (January 19, 2016) – Today, Travel Leaders Group released its top luxury travel trends for 2016 including the top up-and-coming destinations led by Cuba; the list also includes the United Arab Emirates, African Safaris, Iceland and Antarctica. In addition, more than 86% of those surveyed state that luxury travel bookings are higher than or on par with 2015, and the top international luxury travel destinations outside of North America are European river cruises, Italy, Mediterranean cruises, Australia, and England. Conducted November 17-December 8, 2015, these luxury travel trends are based on responses from 964 Travel Leaders Group’s luxury travel agent experts.

“Today’s luxury traveler is someone who seeks incredible, authentic and memorable experiences – not merely 5-star hotels and Michelin star restaurants. So it makes perfect sense that Cuba, Antarctica, and African safaris are among the top ‘up-and-coming’ luxury travel destinations according to our luxury travel agents throughout the United States,” stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko.  “Nobody books more luxury travel than Travel Leaders Group agents and their expertise is second to none. Our travel agents take pride in their ongoing efforts to specialize in and experience destinations, firsthand, that appeal particularly to their affluent clientele. That’s how they’re able to confidently consult with and advise their clients – making sure each client’s luxury vacation expectations are exceeded.”

Luxury Travel Up-and-Coming Destinations:

The top responses when asked, “What would you say is the top up-and-coming destination for your luxury travel clients?” were remarkable destinations such as: Cuba, United Arab Emirates, African Safaris, Iceland and Antarctica.

“Because Cuba will undoubtedly change rapidly in the coming years due to the influx of American tourists and business influences, a growing number of Protravel International’s affluent clientele want to experience its captivating time-stands-still charm now,” stated Patrick Fragale, President of Protravel International. “The proximity, the people and the culture are all part of the appeal. When Americans can freely travel to Cuba for any type of vacation – not just a cultural exchange – and more luxury accommodations become available, I see Cuba moving from our up-and-coming list to join our overall list of top international destinations for luxury travelers.”

Top Luxury Travel Destinations (Outside) North America

1 CRUISE – Europe (River)
2 Italy
3 CRUISE – Europe (Mediterranean)
4 Australia
5 England
6 France
7 CRUISE – Europe (Baltic)
8 Ireland
9 South Africa
10 CRUISE – Australia/New Zealand
11 United Arab Emirates
12 Bora Bora
13 (tie) China
13 (tie) New Zealand
13 (tie) Spain


Top Luxury Travel Destinations (Within) North America

1 CRUISE – Caribbean
2 Mexico
3 Dominican Republic
4 Jamaica
5 Costa Rica


Luxury Travel Bookings in 2016:

When Travel Leaders Group luxury travel agents were asked to compare their overall 2016 luxury travel bookings so far to their luxury travel bookings at this time last year, over 86% of those surveyed say bookings are higher than or on par with 2015.

2016 2015 2014 2013
Bookings are Higher 40.8% 48.3% 45.7% 41.5%
Bookings are Even 45.5% 41.6% 40.5% 44.6%
Bookings are Lower 13.7% 10.1% 13.8% 13.9%


“With Tzell’s luxury clientele continuing to seek out unique experiences, we’re buoyed by the survey results that confirm bookings for various segments of the luxury travel industry – from multi-generational vacations and river cruises to hotels and premium airline bookings – are strong,” stated Tzell President and CEO Barry Liben.  “For example, over 91% of survey participants state bookings for luxury multi-generational trips are higher than or on par with last year at this time, and nearly 89% state the same regarding luxury river cruises.”


versus 2015


as 2015

Luxury Multi-generational Vacations 36.0% 55.1% (91.1%)
Luxury River Cruise Bookings 50.1% 38.6% (88.7%)
Luxury Tour Bookings 35.2% 53.2% (88.4%)
Luxury Cruise Bookings 39.7% 48.3% (88.0%)
Cruise Suite Bookings 39.7% 48.3% (88.0%)
Luxury Hotel Bookings 37.5% 50.3% (87.8%)
Premium Air (First/Business) Bookings 39.7% 48.0% (87.7%)
Luxury Europe Customize Bookings 33.9% 50.2% (84.1%)
Luxury Europe Tour Bookings 29.0% 53.3% (82.3%)


These luxury travel trends are part of a comprehensive travel trends survey of 1,316 U.S.-based travel agents from Travel Leaders Group’s flagship Travel Leaders brand and All Aboard Travel, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and units. Results from Travel Leaders Group’s 2016 Travel Trends Survey are here.

Travel Leaders Group is one of North America’s largest travel companies – encompassing nearly one-third of all travel agents – and generates gross travel sales of approximately $20 billion annually. Travel Leaders Group is a leader in both leisure and corporate, consistently ranking as one of the top travel companies nationwide.

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About Travel Leaders Group
Travel Leaders Group ( is transforming travel with a commitment to our vacation and business travel clients via our progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Having already assisted millions of travelers – through our beginnings as Carlson Leisure Group, a division of Carlson Companies, TraveLeaders and Tzell Travel Group and through the additions of Nexion, and Protravel International – Travel Leaders Group manages leisure, business and franchise travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands. With annual sales of approximately $20 billion through over 6,500 locations, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest traditional travel agency companies.