According to the November ALTOUR Index, the luxury travel expert’s bi-monthly survey of hundreds of their leisure agents, autumn travel is a perfect time for non-traditional vacations, particularly among high-end travelers.
Indeed the total level spent on vacations and travel remained constant in nearly every category. However, the types of vacations travelers sought out shifted away from the big three (Western Europe, the Caribbean and Hawaii) and moved to more exotic destinations and non-traditional trips. In travel fall is the season of new destinations and new modes of travel.
Demands for Africa, South America, and Antarctica all grew during the past two months. However it was South and Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam and India, that saw the largest increase in demand. David McWaters, a veteran travel agent from ALTOUR’s Newport Beach location, notes: “Most exotic destinations are warm and humid so the visiting window is small.”
Not only are these destinations just entering their most comfortable climate, but also they appeal to a different kind of traveler. Exotic travelers tend to be “empty nesters,” according to McWaters, and therefore don’t need to worry about their kids’ summer and winter holidays. They are also the type of travelers who seek “bucket list” destinations for stories and experiences that others may not have. They are typically very well traveled already and would like to experience something new. Agent Bobbie Plotkin, of ALTOUR’s Woodland Hills, CA location, agrees noting: “Many are more upscale clients looking for something different, after traveling to the traditional spots.” River cruises cater to the more adventurous traveler and visit more exotic destinations: the perfect autumn destination
November doesn’t just mean new destinations and new travelers, but new modes of travel as well. River cruises are particularly en vogue according to the ALTOUR Index and ALTOUR agents. While at one time agents had to refer clients to the new trend, recently travelers themselves are actively asking for river cruising according to ALTOUR agent Marion Van Ingen. “People are always looking for the new, and for these types of clients, they’ve already done the big ships or didn’t have any interest to begin with. They want a more personal experience, with 500 instead of 5,000 people, in a more exclusive destination like the Danube instead of the Mediterranean.”
ALTOUR is one of the world’s leading independent travel and services organizations with a workforce of over 1,200 professionals in sixty-eight offices on three continents. With a $1.2 billion turnover in 2010, ALTOUR is recognized as an international industry leader providing essential travel and service solutions the world over.