Nevada is one of the US states rising in popularity with Kiwi travellers Nevada is one of the US states rising in popularity with Kiwi travellers

Luxury travel set to stay full steam ahead in 2023, says Virtuoso

High-net-worth travellers from New Zealand and Australia are booking international hotels and resorts further ahead than before, according to figures from Virtuoso.

This year’s bookings are averaging 11 months in advance – up 25% from nine months in 2022. The desire to book in advance is driven by increasing rates, the scarcity of inventory and the ongoing demand for travel to make up for lost trips and experiences.

The agency network says the average daily rate luxury travellers are willing to pay was up 37% for international travel, and 44% for domestic travel compared to 2019 levels, and rates show no signs of abating.

The USA remains a hot favourite with Australians and New Zealanders and was at the top of the destination list for 2022. USA bookings outpaced 2019 visitation levels in 2022 by 60%, and this trend continues into 2023. Hawaii and California are trending as the most popular states for luxury travellers, but Colorado, Nevada and Washington are emerging for 2023 to challenge the old favourites.

The popularity of travel to the USA is supported by an increase in airline capacity, as airlines on the trans-Pacific route continue to normalise their scheduling into 2023.

Last year saw Italy and France re-emerge at the top of the list for travel to Europe, with Italy outpacing France almost two to one. The Greek Islands are back in favour at number three, and traditional spots Spain and the UK round out the top five destinations for Australians and New Zealanders in 2022. In 2023, Switzerland is trending in the top five.

Fiona Dalton, Virtuoso’s general manager of Australia and New Zealand, says the affluent end of the market is defying the odds and, so far, hasn’t been adversely impacted by rising interest rates and inflationary concerns.

‘If anything, rising interest rates fuel this end of the market, providing increased consumer confidence and stabilising incomes to allow high-value travellers to enjoy more travel experiences.’

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