Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

The hottest new destination for upscale American travelers is Uruguay, according to Virtuoso, which says bookings to that country by its members are up nearly 300%.

But when it comes to the holidays, Americans are increasingly choosing to keep their travels domestic.

Those are a few of the findings of the luxury consortia's latest Top 10 and Hot 10, which are based on a review of the future bookings in the group's warehouse of more than $49.5 billion in transactions.

According to Virtuoso, the U.S. is the most popular fall and holiday destination. Europe's appeal as a summer destination extends into fall, with five countries on the list, including Italy at No. 2, the United Kingdom at three and France four. Germany is eight while Spain comes in tenth.

Germany's Christmas markets, in particular, are a big draw for river cruisers, Virtuoso notes.

Japan, which topped the list of emerging destination in the 2019 Virtuoso Luxe Report for its appeal for everyone from adventure seekers to culinary enthusiasts, came in ninth. Two other fall and holiday favorites, South Africa and Israel, numbers five and six respectively, are repeats from last year's list. Also on this year's Top 10 list is Australia at number seven.  

The Virtuoso Hot 10 underscores the Virtuoso Luxe Report's determination that the prevailing travel motivator for 2019 is exploring new destinations.

Uruguay's award-winning wineries, pleasant climate and adventure opportunities put it at the top of the list of emerging destinations based on year-over-year increase in bookings, Virtuoso said. Bookings to that country are up 286%.  

The Maldives came in second with a 171% rise. Malta is third at 140% followed by Romania with a 135% increase and Egypt with a 122% hike.

Rounding out the Hot 10 are Puerto Rico, up 120 %; Rwanda at 114%; Qatar up 101%; South Korea at 98% and Norway with a 96% increase.

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