FORT WORTH, Texas -- Results of a poll of the nation's top luxury
travel specialists identified last year's biggest travel trends and
predicted the travel habits of America's affluent in 1999,
according to API Travel Consultants.
API, a network of 222 independent luxury travel agencies in
North and Latin America, has annual sales of more than $2 billion.
The hottest travel trends among affluent travelers include
small-ship and expedition cruises, adventure travel, and traveling
with children, according to the poll.
Trends on the decline are those that involve traveling en masse,
such as large-ship cruises, bus tours and large-group trips.
API's LuxeReport is a compilation of more than 3,500 survey
responses from travel consultants serving affluent clients at API
agencies. The report can help agents target products for clients
because it portrays the lifestyles of America's wealthiest
travelers -- from their favorite destinations and activities to
technology trends and shopping habits, according to API.
The poll includes an "affluent traveler profile," which revealed
the following:Average vacation length: nine days.Percentage of API clients who only fly first class: 12%.Percentage who combine work and vacation on the same trip:
The poll also reported the most unusual requests API clients
made in 1998.
Examples included a rail trip across Vietnam; booking an entire
resort for one client; tracking gorillas in Uganda; running with
the bulls in Spain; reconfiguring furniture on a cruise ship;
two-day roundtrips on the Concorde, and climbing Kilimanjaro.
They also included flying a client's hairdresser to London
"pronto;" riding horseback naked in Namibia; a one-night trip to
Istanbul for the frequent flyer miles to gain platinum status, and
a personal meeting with Nelson Mandela.
The top-ranking travel trends among affluent travelers ages 34
to 52 include:Cruises, especially top luxury and expedition sailings.Adventure travel.Traveling with children.More frequent, shorter trips.Biking and walking trips abroad.
The poll revealed that emerging travel trends include
educational travel and spa vacations.
Travel trends on the decline are:Bus/group tours.Paying full fare for first class without using frequent flyer
miles.Fitness during travel.Traveling light.
The poll also showed that 68% of API travel consultants have
clients interested in potential space travel.
The poll found that the most popular countries visited in 1998
The poll showed that the most popular countries to visit in 1999
3. Australia or England
The most exotic destination booked by API consultants in 1998
included African safaris; Myanmar (Burma); World Jet Tours; Macchu
Pichu, Peru; Bali; Fiji, and Belize.
The most underrated travel destinations were:
1. South America
3. Eastern Europe
The best travel options for value now include cruises, Asia,
Canada, South America and Europe.
Destinations not commonly visited now by affluent travelers but
which would be if they had five-star hotels or resorts include:
Costa Rica, Vietnam, Cuba, South America and Eastern Europe.