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 Virtuoso®, the leading network specialising in luxury and experiential travel, has gathered data and insights from its network of travel advisors, preferred partners and high net worth/ultra-high net worth clientele across Australia and New Zealand, revealing when, where and how the affluent are travelling in 2024 and beyond. The forecasted trends demonstrate a surge in sales in 2023 and a strong future interest in cruising.

A preview of the findings follows:

 Travellers are Choosing Virtuoso

The Virtuoso AUNZ network experienced a notable sales increase of 17 percent in 2023 compared to the previous year, reaching unprecedented record levels. Additionally, Virtuoso’s preferred partner sales from its Australia and New Zealand advisors soared by an impressive 95 percent in 2023.

 Cruise Sales Lead the Way

Analysing the 2023 preferred partner sales by type, cruising emerged as travel frontrunner.

  • Cruise: +60 percent
  • Tour: +21 percent
  • On-site (destination management companies): +17 percent
  • Hotel: +15 percent

Ocean Cruising Comes Out on Top in 2023 vs. 2022

  • Ocean Luxury: +67 percent
  • Ocean Premium: +66 percent
  • River: +52 percent
  • Contemporary: +43 percent
  • Expedition: +12 percent

Average Booking Window Increases

The booking window in 2023 increased by more than 8 percent from the 117-day average seen in 2022, reaching an average of 126 days.

International Sales Revert to 2019 Levels

Leisure hotel production at international destinations soared to 90 percent in the first half of 2023 and held steady through the remainder of the year, highlighting the shift from domestic to international travel.

 The Future Looks Promising, Particularly in Cruise

  • In 2023, future sales in the AUNZ region increased by 95 percent compared to 2022, with the cruise sector witnessing a notable 51 percent rise over 2022 figures.
  • A robust 84 percent of Virtuoso members within Australia and New Zealand expressed optimism about the future, surpassing the global average of 81 percent.
  • Similarly, 79 percent of Virtuoso partners in the region share this positive outlook, compared to the global average of 73 percent.
  • Within specific sectors, optimism is notably high among cruise partners at 86 percent, exceeding the global average of 73 percent, followed closely by on-site partners at 83 percent, tour operators at 80 percent and tourism boards at 75 percent.

This just in: Below are additional travel insights per the Virtuoso 2024 Brand and Travel Trend Tracker, a proprietary study conducted with YouGov.

Australians Seek Serenity

When it comes to motivations for leisure travel, Australians are most interested in relaxation and disconnecting from the wider world.

  1. Relaxation/Disconnecting
  2. Adventure
  3. Romantic Getaways
  4. Cultural Experiences
  5. Celebrations
  6. Nature/Eco-Tourism

 Complimentary Perks and Exclusive Benefits Win Over Virtuoso Travellers

The most appealing aspects of Virtuoso according to select responders in Australia and New Zealand are:

  • Complimentary perks and upgrades: 40 percent (surpassing the global average of 34 percent)
  • Special benefits and values: 39 percent (exceeding the global average of 31 percent)
  • Advisors’ firsthand experience: 29 percent (at parity with the global average of 30 percent)

This year marks 20 years of Virtuoso’s operations in Australia and New Zealand. For more details on Virtuoso’s network of the world’s best travel agencies, advisors and preferred partners, please visit www.Virtuoso.com.