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Gen Z taking control

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Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

Move aside, millennials. A new poll shows that "Gen Z" is taking over as the new force in luxury family travel.

According to Virtuoso, its latest poll of global travel advisers shows that 88% said this generation born between the late 1990s and 2010 holds considerable sway over their families' travel decisions.

And in just three years they will account for 40% of all consumers with disposable income, Virtuoso said, citing data from the Digital Tourism Think Tank.

Like millennials, Virtuoso said Gen Zers are well traveled from an early age and are "globally minded," meaning they will continue to fuel the growing demand by luxury travelers for out-of-the-ordinary adventures.

"This group practically came out of the womb with a passport in hand," said Virtuoso spokeswoman Misty Ewing Belles. "They are traveling at a younger age and more frequently and widely than even their millennial counterparts. They already know what they like about traveling, and they're encouraging their parents, grandparents and friends to travel a particular way.

"Gen Z is poised to become the best-traveled generation yet, making them the most influential as well."

So where are these Gen Z travelers and their families going this year? Virtuoso said its survey
shows the hottest family travel spots for the summer are, in order, Italy, Mexico, Hawaii, Orlando, England, Costa Rica, South Africa, Turks and Caicos, the Dominican Republic and Australia.

"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," Virtuoso said in a press release. "As adventure travel continues to trend, active experiences in Australia, South Africa and Costa Rica are also seeing increased interest from travelers."

As for more unconventional destinations, Virtuoso said the top 10 cited by the 772 advisers polled from around the globe are Iceland, Africa, Antarctica, Cuba, the Galapagos Islands, the Arctic, India, Russia, Japan and Vietnam.

"The polar regions of Iceland, Antarctica and the Arctic are leading the pack due to the threat of climate change," Virtuoso said. "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."

Virtuoso said its advisers are also seeing increased demand for trips that are two weeks or longer to place such as India, Japan and Vietnam.

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