Virtuoso, the global network specializing in luxury and experiential travel, reveals what's trending in family travel this summer vacation season. Recognized as a prominent trend predictor in the industry, Virtuoso surveyed its global advisors in the 2017 Luxe Reportto determine the leading destinations for families and the influence Generation Z has over travel decisions.
Generation Z: The New Destination Disruptors
While Millennials previously held court as the leading force in the travel industry, Virtuoso says "Gen Z" is the new buzzword in tourism. Consisting of young people born late in the 1990s to 2010s, this generation holds considerable sway over their families' travel decisions, according to 88 percent of Virtuoso advisors polled. By 2020, this generation will account for 40 percent of all consumers with disposable income to travel (source: Digital Tourism Think Tank).
Gen Zs are well-traveled from an early age and globally minded, and thus interested in offbeat destinations with exhilarating adventures like diving the Great Barrier Reef and kayaking among icebergs in Greenland. The desire for personalized travel experiences, deeper cultural immersion, and Instagram-worthy design continues to drive the popularity of boutique hotels. Gen Z has been hyperconnected to the internet since birth and, like its predecessors, places great emphasis on visual storytelling. Sharing one-of-a kind travel moments with friends on social media is today's postcard. Virtuoso dug a little deeper to find out where they're going this year.
Top 10 Hottest Family Destinations
Virtuoso Analysis: This is a banner year for American travelers heading overseas. As the U.S. currency is nearly at a one-to-one ratio with the euro – the first time in more than a decade – a trip to Europe is now more affordable. Ripple effects from Brexit linger as a weakened British pound drives luxury hotel rates down 14 percent compared to last year, all leading to increased demand for England. Florida and Hawaii hold their stake as unrivaled popular destinations among families, and Zika-impacted areas, including the Caribbean and Mexico, are rebounding this season with hotels seeing a big uptick in reservations. As adventure travel continues to trend, active experiences in Australia, South Africa, and Costa Rica are also seeing increased interest from travelers.
Top 10 Unconventional Family Destinations
Virtuoso Analysis: In addition to favored family hot spots, travelers are seeking out-of-the-ordinary locales. The polar regions of Iceland, Antarctica, and the Arctic are leading the pack due to the threat of climate change. The United Nations has declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, making green travel to the regions particularly relevant. In the same vein, experiences involving wildlife conservation remain top-of-mind for travelers, so it is no surprise that Africa and the Galapagos Islands snagged top spots. Notably, the strong dollar, combined with the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, has also triggered a renewed interest in visiting the country. Cultural immersion remains one of the leading travel trends, driving families to Cuba before the country loses its historic charm. Trips that are two weeks or longer are also seeing increased demand, with families traveling to far-flung Asian countries including India, Japan, and Vietnam.