What’s hot in luxury travel for 2017? According to findings from Travel Leaders Group’s Fall Luxury Travel Trends survey, New Zealand, France and South Africa placed among the top 15 destinations for affluent travelers in the next 12 months. What’s more, of the 785 travel agent experts who participated in the survey conducted from July 28 to Aug. 24, 2016, 84 percent stated their luxury travel bookings were higher than or on par with the same period last year.
If luxury travel is your niche or you’re looking to break into this lucrative market segment, the following tours will wow your clients with the exclusive, brag-worthy experiences included.
New Zealand’s renowned farm-to-table cuisine and refined wines has helped earn the country’s reputation as a fine food destination, with Hawke’s Bay being considered the country’s leading producer of red wines and the Central Otago region outside of Queenstown, boasting what some have said is the best Pinot Noir in the world. Frontiers International Travel’s president Mike Fitzgerald is hosting an exclusive 10-day luxury New Zealand tour to this foodie paradise, where guests will experience New Zealand’s culture and lifestyle.
Departing March 16, 2017, the Best of New Zealand itinerary, starting at $17,560 pp dbl, begins with three days on the North Island in Hawke’s Bay and an exclusive visit to one of the area’s premier wineries, followed by a full week on the South Island. Highlights of the tour include a visit to the largest mainland gannet colony at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, a private tour of the Otahuna botanical gardens, and a private boat cruise in the Akaroa Harbour, where guests can spot penguins, sea birds and the Hector dolphin. In addition, guests are able to hike the Routeburn Track, participate in a Waipara Valley wine tour, go on a helicopter excursion to Milford Sound with a glacier landing, and experience a Dart River jet boat excursion. Accommodations, at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay, a 5,000-acre sheep and cattle station; Otahuna Lodge, a victorian mansion and Relais & Chateaux property set in pastoral surroundings; and Matakauri Lodge in Queenstown overlooking Lake Wakatipu, are included. For more information, call (800) 245-1950 or visit frontierstravel.com.
For a five-star experience of Paris’ cuisine and culture, and an exclusive look at Burgundy to Provence and the sunny Riviera, look to Abercrombie and Kent’s recently expanded portfolio of Luxury Small Group Journeys for 2017 to provide just the tour. One of the top selling points of these tours—aside from the 18-guest cap and the doors to the finest luxury accommodations this smaller group size opens—is the authenticity of the itineraries, which are orchestrated from beginning to end by a local resident tour director. For example, the 12-day France: From Paris to Provence itinerary, starting at $10,995 pp dbl, includes a walking tour of the historic Marais district, where guests will get a glimpse of Paris through an artist’s eyes before a private exploration of the new Picasso Museum. Also included is a tour of Burgundy’s scenic rural countryside with private tours and tastings, and lunch at a winery, as well as a stroll through the Les Halles de Paul Bocuse market in Lyon, where guests will learn the secrets of a traditional silk workshop. In Eze, guests will meet with a local who offers tips on how to play petanque before trying the game for themselves. Departures are available May to September 2017. Rates include accommodations, some meals, and private arrival and departure transfers. For more information, call (888) 611-4711 or visit abercrombiekent.com.
And speaking of brag-worthy experiences, Lion World Travel’s 9-day The Best of South Africa luxury safari includes a hot air balloon ride near the Drakensberg Escarpment and a Cape Peninsula tour, which are sure to provide a few memorable stories to take home. The tour also includes daily game drives in the greater Kruger National Park area and open-air safaris, where a diverse range of animal and bird species can be viewed. Rates for the Best of South Africa itinerary start at $3,999 pp dbl, and include accommodations at the five-star Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, featuring ocean views, and the luxurious Kapama Southern Camp; roundtrip international Economy airfare from 38 major U.S. cities for travel on select dates in November and December 2016; seven breakfasts; domestic flights in South Africa; and three lunches and four dinners. For more information, call (800) 387-2706 or visit lionworldtravel.com.