Luxury travel trends in 2013

With 2013 now well and truly underway, what can we expect the year to bring as far as luxury tourism is concerned? We got in touch with three members of the travel industry – all Directors at their respective travel businesses – and asked them what they each anticipated the year would bring. Here’s what they had to say: “We are seeing strong growth in private and custom tour requests from young, successful families. Clients in their early 30s and 40s are planning adventurous Ireland trips for the extended family including grandparents, young children and even babies. They want their children to have authentic cultural experiences whilst retaining their own travel freedom. Private touring provides the independence they want with the structure and local insight that makes for a fantastic tour. For 2013, we are also seeing a trend towards ‘value based luxury’ – clients opting for smaller, boutique accommodations that can reduce overall costs by 20-25%.” Andrew Carr, Managing Director, Kennedy & Carr Ireland Travel. “As the world moves ever faster there is an even greater need to escape the hurly burly; we see clients wanting to get more off the beaten track to find space and authentic experiences in 2013 and to take advantage of more personal experiences – tailor made expert advice, premium travel by air and rail and smaller upmarket character hotels along with smaller luxury cruise ships. We expect less well known destinations to secure a firmer place in 2013 as true journeys of discovery – places such as Namibia, Malawi, Burma, Cambodia, Mongolia, Oman and Colombia. Within the established favourites we expect to see more travel beyond the icons and the expected, as people explore ‘new’ parts of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA and Morocco, and seek out new experiences such as the northern lights, private safaris and the last great frontiers such as Antarctica. As always exchange rates and safety will be key underlying considerations for our travellers, so expect specialist cruising to continue to grow, along with escorted tours, and US dollar denominated destinations to perform well. Our travellers all enjoy the research and planning stages of their trips, and given the plethora of sources they will rely even more on their trusted travel partners, the companies who genuinely know the destinations and who are passionate about their role in making dreams come true. Our brand essence at WEXAS is “serious travel personalised” which we believe is exactly what the luxury traveller wants in 2013. Steve Allen, Managing Director, WEXAS Tailor-made Travel “We are definitely experiencing an increase in guests wanting a ‘truly memorable stay’ with a much more substantial itinerary than a simple self-catered house hire and we have seen the demand for fully catered and staffed breaks increase. Clients are also tailoring their stays more with luxury activities and country pursuits such as clay shooting or archery in a sunny English garden, private cheese and wine tasting sessions or an exciting murder mystery evening. So my prediction for 2013 is a move towards more tailored breaks to suit individuals making their stay truly special and unique.” Jennie Verleg, Director of Sales, The Country Castle Company

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. A definite “sweet spot” exists as to when to best visit a country. You want to catch-it after it has become safe and enough infrastructure exists so that you are not roughing it, yet the entire world has not caught-on to the place, devolving it into something “touristy”.

    I predict that the following destinations will have reached, or will reach, their sweet spot in 2013 or 2014.

    OMAN: Oman has long been a “hidden gem” for travel. As people tire of Dubai or the newcomer Abu Dhabi I suspect that they will seek more down-to-earth, natural alternatives. Oman needs the tourism revenue as oil profits are limited and will likely continue to promote itself.

    MEXICO CITY: As the rest of Mexico becomes more dangerous, the capital city is growing into more of a safe haven. Sooner or later (sooner, I think) the world is going to catch-on to the fact that this sophisticated city offers world-class museums, parks, restaurants and hotels. It’s Buenos Aires meets Paris good.

    ESTONIA/MONTENEGRO/CROATIA: these countries are creeping on to the radar as travelers seek something different from the old, traditional European standards (Rome, London, Paris, etc.)

    RIO DE JANEIRO: This city (and country) is unstoppable right now. Go before everyone goes in 2016.

    MYANMAR: Hurry! This one is catching on fast, but I believe a few good years exist for capturing it in its newfound natural state.

    SRI LANKA. Just got back from here. It is a cross between chaotic India and laid-back Bali. Four years have pssed since the culmination of the civil war and the time could not be more perfect to experience its incredible diversity of geography and culture.

    MARSEILLES: This city keeps popping up. Perfect for Francophiles who prefer a little (Berlin-like) edge.

  2. I definitely agree with these statements. The definition of luxury is evolving and people want more freedom and unique experiences. Being a travel professional in Madagascar, this can be a great option for luxury travellers wanting an off the beaten track trip.
    The destination, known for its unique wildlife and culture is now beginning to appear on the travel map.

  3. The real challenge is to connect luxury travel destinations with the luxury traveller. As marketers, we understand that the higher a person moves up wealth ladder, the more exclusivity they seek and demand. When dealing with ultra-high-net-worth targets, the desire tops out by seeking travel opportunities that they can’t have. Those opportunities materialize as bespoke offers that allow the luxury traveller to purchase experiences that are simply not available to others. For an extreme example of this, see

    For the seller of luxury travel, creating the experience, as remarkably difficult and expensive as that may be, is only the beginning. Just locating the affluent, high-net-worth, or ultra-high-net-worth potential customer requires a savvy marketing partner. Once located, they have to be sold on that experience, or more accurately; UN-sold. Challenging. But rewarding.

  4. “Get more off the beaten track” and “less well known destinations”, that’s the point! I think it will be possible not only in exotic places, but even in Countries that are touched by mass tourism.
    Take for instance Italy, we have famous attractions known all over the world, but we could offer much more in terms of culture, arts, food. There are beautiful territories that foreign tourists don’t even take into account and that is a pity for them and for Italian tourism industry too.

  5. I agree on most of the points. There is a huge demand for cultural experiences among the new breed of tourists. Creating insider experiences that range from pre-packaged, off-the-beaten-track tours with local guides, to customized outings and self-guided tours with the input of the concierge staff are the need of hour.

  6. We will see vacationers who love luxury travel requesting for custom tour that are unique and off track from usual path of tourist.

    Many more will want to travel to destinations that are not usually travel hot spots. Travelers will also be the one selecting the hotels and rooms they prefer as internet provided them with much more information on rooms options.

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