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Booming Tourism Destinations

Looking for a destination to visit that seems to be the place to go? According to the 2018 Virtuoso Luxe Report, the top emerging destinations (i.e. ones that have seen an increase in visitors, either for the first time or all over again) are Iceland, Croatia, Japan, Cuba and Portugal.

“Iceland has been hot for a while but now everyone else is catching on,” said Lori Foster, Independent Vacation Specialist with Cruises Inc. and Foster Cruises in San Clemente, California. “It has a landscape that is absolutely breathtaking. Northern Lights, volcanoes, black sand beaches, glaciers, waterfalls, geysers and more, all on a compact volcanic island.”

Foster said that the best part of Iceland is that it’s easy to get to: “It’s an ideal stopover from the U.S. to Europe. Plus with Icelandair and Wow air allowing free stopovers, it’s hard to not take advantage of the amazing deal.”

Israel

With an estimated 3.5 million visitors, Israel closed out 2017 with a record increase in incoming tourism. According to the Israel Ministry of Tourism, approximately 3.3 million tourists entered the nation from January to November 2017, an increase of 25 percent compared to the same period last year.

“The success of 2017 is largely due to the increase in new hotel developments and additional airline routes, as well as improvements in tourism infrastructure,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin.

These new hotels include The Orient Jerusalem—located only a 20-minute walk from the heart of Jerusalem’s prized Old City—and W Tel Aviv, the first full-service high-design hotel of its size. The W Tel Aviv is less than 10 minutes by foot from the beaches on the Mediterranean Sea.

There is also The Setai Tel Aviv, which will consist 120 lavish suites and rooms, plus a lounge bar in a 1,000-year-old room. To help get around, the first high-speed train that connects Jerusalem and Tel Aviv will open in April.

Machu Picchu Growth

According to Jacquie Whitt of Adios Adventure Travel in Virginia Beach, Virginia, there has been a steady growth of visitors in the last five years to Machu Picchu, Peru.

“Perhaps the increase in tourism is due to the recent explosion of interest in adventure travel, which this place definitely exemplifies,” said Whitt.

“Couple that with the mystery surrounding the Inca culture who built it. Machu Picchu on the bucket list for most people who travel. Getting there is half the fun. Average, ordinary active travelers have the opportunity to enter the ruins by hiking the easy one-day Inca Trail and crossing over the spectacular SunGate (Inti-Punku). It’s not just for the young and fit.”

Whitt said that she has witnessed people cry when they reach the SunGate and get their first glimpse of Machu Picchu: “It’s truly an unforgettable moment.”

Record-setting Years

Maybe it’s time to finally take that trip to the United Kingdom, but be aware that it might be a little crowded. Overseas visits to the UK are set to pass 40 million people for the first time in 2018 according to VisitBritain, which is predicting tourists will spend a record £27bn over the coming 12 months.

Vietnam is also experiencing a tourism explosion, welcoming 12.9 million international visitors in 2017. This was an increase of 30 percent over the year before.

Deciding where to go can be a complicated decision, but according to the Virtuoso report, clients aren’t all going to such booming tourism destinations. Instead, they are asking for surprising experiences, such as reaching the edge of space in a Russian MiG-29 flight or hosting a celebration in a private capsule aboard the London Eye.

They also seek rare accommodations such as an igloo in Norway, an entire castle all to themselves, or sleeping under the desert stars without a tent.

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