Americans Looking Toward Italy


Manarola Italy (cinque terre)

A brief Google search reveals there is no clear definition of what is “luxury travel.” Nevertheless, Travel Leaders Group (self-described as one of North America’s leading travel companies) says those seeking the luxury experiences are eyeing Italy, as well as European cruises.

Its latest survey of travel agents reveals:

  • Among the top destinations for luxury travel in the coming 12 months, Italy leads the way, followed by European river cruises, Mediterranean cruises and the United States, respectively.  
  • In addition, 92.6% of the agent experts surveyed state that their luxury travel bookings are higher than or on par with this time last year, a marked increase from the 84% of agents last year.

Ireland made it into the top five this year, and the upwardly-trending Iceland came in at number 10. Jamaica, South Africa and New Zealand were also among the top 15 destinations affluent clientele are seeking for vacations, according to Travel Leaders Group’s luxury travel agents.

Just more than 34% of agents said that Italy is the top vacation spot for their luxury travelers. River cruises in Europe are the second-most favorite destination for luxury travelers, with 22% of the agents saying their clients are booking or inquiring about this option.

“River cruises are the best option for seeing Italy or other parts of Europe, especially for active and adventure clients who also want to feel pampered. From the moment they step on board, the crew already knows their name. There are also bikes and kayaks available for those who want an immersive experience,” said Missy Skoog, a luxury travel specialist in Blaine, Minnesota. “Clients who are also seeking fine dining experiences and river cruises have some of the top most skilled chefs. Additionally, the suites are large, there is butler service and one can take excursions to several small villages and cities without needing to unpack over and over.”

Third-place Mediterranean cruises are also popular with luxury clients, with 18% of the agents saying their clients are booking or inquiring about this option.